Lamb Shortlisted for the Oscars

Lamb, a movie by Icelandic director and screenwriter Valdimar Jóhansson, has been shortlisted for the 2022 Academy Awards. The movie was selected as Iceland’s entry for the Best International Feature Film last October. Fifteen movies from fifteen different countries are on the shortlist, which was unveiled yesterday.

Lamb is a supernatural drama about an Icelandic farm couple, María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), that takes a human-sheep hybrid into their care after witnessing one of their sheep giving birth to the creature.

The movie, which premiered last July, has received international acclaim and has already won some noteworthy awards. It was one of six movies that were awarded by the Un Certain regard jury at the Cannes festival in 2021, receiving the Prize of Originality. It was awarded best film at the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia earlier this year, and the best actress award at the same festival went to Noomi Rapace.

The movie is a co-production between three countries: Iceland, Sweden and Poland. The screenplay was jointly written by director Jóhannsson and Icelandic poet and writer Sjón.

The nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards will be announced in early February 2022.

Húsavík, Iceland Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Oscars Ceremony

Húsavík Oscar

Residents of Húsavík have literally painted the town red for this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, which features a musical performance filmed in the North Iceland locale. A girls’ choir from the town will take part in the ceremony in a performance of the Oscar-nominated ballad Húsavík, featured in the Will Ferrel film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The other four nominated songs will be performed from the roof terrace of Los Angeles’ yet-to-open Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Húsavík residents have made the most of the nomination, painting a red carpet on the main street and launching a campaign called “An Óskar for Húsavík,” where they implore the world to help the ballad win an Academy Award. The campaign is part of town residents’ efforts to open a temporary Eurovision museum, in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union and Iceland’s national broadcaster RÚV.

The song Húsavík – My Home Town can be heard in its entirety below.

Agnes Joy is Iceland’s 2021 Oscar Submission

Agnes Joy Icelandic film

Feature film Agnes Joy will be Iceland’s submission to the 2021 Oscar Awards. The film recently received nine nominations at Iceland’s Edda Awards for film and theatre and won in six categories, including Best Film, Best Script, and Best Actress in a Leading Role. Nordic Drama reported first.

Agnes Joy follows the middle-aged Rannveig (Katla Margrét Þorgeirsdóttir), who is bored by her suburban life. When a well-known actor moves in next door, both Rannveig and her rebellious daughter Agnes (Donna Cruz) become interested in him. The film also features performances from Þorsteinn Bachmann, who plays Rannveig’s husband, and rapper Kristinn Óli Haraldsson (known as Króli).

Read More: Agnes Joy Premieres in South Korea

The 93rd Academy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on April 25, 2021. A shortlist of ten foreign films will be announced by the Academy on February 9 and the final five nominees will be revealed on March 15, 2021.


Hildur Guðnadóttir Wins Oscar for Joker Score

Hildur Guðnadóttir Oscar

Icelander Hildur Guðnadóttir made history last night, becoming the first Icelander to win an Oscar. Hildur was awarded in the category of Best Original Score for the film Joker. She was the first woman to win in the category since 1997.

Joker received 11 nominations in total, taking home two awards (the other was Best Actor, snagged by Joaquin Phoenix). Hildur beat out an illustrious group of fellow nominees, including John Williams, nominated for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Alexandre Desplat (Little Women).

After thanking her family and collaborators, Hildur ended her speech by saying “To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within: please, speak up. We need to hear your voices.”

Hildur’s music for the film and her score for the series Chernobyl have been in the spotlight lately, winning her an Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and BAFTA this season. Iceland Review interviewed Hildur last year about her work on the two projects.

Watch Hildur’s full acceptance speech below.

Hildur Guðnadóttir Earns Oscar Nomination for Joker

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for the film Joker. Hildur became the first solo woman to win a Golden Globe in the same category on January 4.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards yesterday. The ceremony will take place on February 9, 2020, in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir is the only woman nominated in the category of Best Original Score and the fifth woman in Oscar history to be nominated in the category. Her fellow nominees are Alexandre Desplat (Little Women), Randy Newman (Marriage Story) Thomas Newman (1917), and John Williams (Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker).

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hildur related her experience of a distinctly Hollywood moment: “My husband got an ear infection, so I’m actually at the doctor’s office[,] and one of the nurses just came up and congratulated me! […] For a girl from a small town in Iceland, it’s kind of surreal to be sitting in a doctor’s office in L.A. and be congratulated by the nurse.”

Hildur Guðnadóttir is a classically trained cellist who has been composing for film and television for nearly two decades. On Sunday, January 4, Hildur earned a Golden Globe in the same category, becoming the first solo woman in history to win. She had previously won an Emmy for her work on the T.V. series Chernobyl. Iceland Review spoke to Hildur in 2019.

Seven Icelanders have earned Oscar nominations in the past: director Friðrik Þór Friðriksson for Börn náttúrunnar (Best Foreign Language Film); Björk Guðmundsdóttir and Sjón for I’ve Seen It All (Best Original Song); filmmakers Rúnar Rúnarsson and Þórir Snær Sigurjónsson for Síðasti bærinn (Best Short Film); Sturla Gunnarsson for After the Axe (Best Documentary Feature); and Jóhann Jóhannsson for Sicario and The Theory of Everything (Best Original Score).

A White, White Day Will Be Iceland’s Submission to the Oscars

A White, White Day (Hvítur, hvítur dagur) will be Iceland’s submission for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020. It won the electronic vote on the Icelandic submission to the Oscars by a landslide, voted on by the members of ÍKSA, the Icelandic Film and Television Academy.

Hlynur Pálmason wrote and directed the film, which was world premiered at Cannes International Critic’s Week last May. The film’s star Ingvar E Sigurðsson was awarded the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award for his acting in A White, White Day.  The film will also be Iceland’s submission to the Nordic Council Film Prize and has been longlisted for the European Film Awards.

The film is director Hlynur Pálmason’s second film, following the critically acclaimed 2017 Danish/Icelandic production Winter Brothers.

Read Iceland Review’s recent interview with the film’s star, Ingvar E Sigurðsson.

Björk’s Swan Dress Part of Met Museum’s Camp Exhibition

The famous “swan dress” that Björk wore to the 2001 Academy Awards is included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition, which will open on Thursday, following the New York institution’s annual Met Gala, often referred to as “the Oscars of Fashion.” RÚV reports that the famous frock will be exhibited alongside such iconic garments as the oyster dress that rapper Cardi B wore to the Grammy’s this year, Burberry’s rainbow cloak, and Balenciaga’s platform take on the Crocs clog, among others.

Björk wore the swan dress to the 2001 Academy Awards. That year, her song “I’ve Seen It All” from Lars von Trier’s film “Dancer in the Dark” was nominated for Best Original Song. Björk, who starred in the film, co-wrote the song with Icelandic author Sjón and recorded it with Radiohead singer Thom Yorke.

The swan dress was created by Macedonian fashion designer Marjan Pejoski. At the time, it was widely mocked. Journalist Jay Carr of The Boston Globe memorably remarked, for instance, that the “wraparound swan frock…made her look like a refugee from the more dog-eared precincts of provincial ballet.” It’s stood the test of time, however: Valentino debuted its own version of the dress as part of its Spring 2014 couture collection.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala and the related exhibit takes its inspiration from Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp.” The exhibition will be open to the public from May 9 to September 8 in New York City.


Oscar Swag Bag Includes Trip to Iceland

Among the swag found in the gift bag that was given to all of this year’s 25 nominees for an Oscar in the acting or directing categories is a free trip to Iceland.

Forbes reports that for the seventeenth year running, the LA-based marketing agency Distinctive Assets has put together an “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bag which is valued at more than $100,000. The gifts included are varied to say the least, including “a broad selection of cannabis products,” a glow-in-the-dark toilet plunger shaped like a poop emoji, color-changing lipstick, a bottle of absinthe, a cooler filled with Jarritos soda, and training sessions with a celebrity trainer.

Recipients can also choose from one of four “luxury small-ship adventure[s]” to Iceland, the Galapagos, the Amazon, or Costa Rica. The trips are valued at $15,000 – $20,000 [ISK 1.79 million – ISK 2.39 million; €13,227 – €17,637]. According to provider International Expeditions, their nine-day voyage on a three-masted motor-sailer includes first stops in Akureyri and around Lake Mývatn, then travels around Siglufjörður in the North Fjords, Ísafjörður and stops in the Westfjords, Snæfellsnes in West Iceland, and finally ends with a tour around the Golden Circle.

Iceland submitted Woman at War, directed by Benedikt Erlingsson and starring Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir to be the country’s submission to this year’s Best Foreign Film category, but it did not make the final five.

‘Woman at War’ Goes to the Oscars

The film ‘Woman at War’ (Kona fer í stríð) will be Iceland’s 2019 Oscar submission, RÚV reports. The film, which was directed by Benedikt Erlingsson and stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, was selected by members of the Icelandic Film and Television Academy (ÍKSA) in an online election that ended on Wednesday. ÍKSA members chose from nine Icelandic films that met the submission requirements of the United States’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Per the description on the Toronto International Film Festival website the movie centers around Halla, “a committed undercover eco-terrorist trying to save Iceland’s natural landscapes from industrialist destruction” whose plans are complicated “…when a long-desired child becomes available for adoption.”

Film producer and president of ÍKSA Hlin Jóhannesdóttir says that this year’s election saw a record participation among voting members and also that there have seldom been as many Icelandic films competing for the honor of being Iceland’s nominee for the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film prize.

‘Woman at War’ will now be submitted to the Oscar selection committee, which will choose five international films to compete for the award, the winner of which will be announced during the Oscar ceremony on January 22, 2019. The film has also been nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize, the European Parliament’s LUX prize, and the European Film Award.

You can watch a trailer for the film (with English subtitles) here.