'Queen of Hearts' by May el-Toukhy
‘Queen of Hearts’ by May el-Toukhy

The Danish Oscar committee revealed the shortlist of three films that are in the running to become Denmark’s official entry for the 2020 International Feature Film category (previously Foreign Language). 

The three films on the shortlist are ‘Queen of Hearts‘ by May el-Toukhy, ‘Before the Frost‘ by Michael Noer and ‘Daniel’ by Niels Arden Oplev and Anders W. Berthelsen.

The committee will be convening again on September 24 to elect the final candidate.

Queen of Hearts

‘Queen of Hearts’ took home the audience award at its world premiere in Sundance. The film also picked up three prizes in Göteborg, including Best Nordic Film and Best Acting to Trine Dyrholm, who has received high praise for her performance as a successful lawyer who jeopardizes both career and family when she seduces her 17-year-old stepson. “This is Dyrholm’s show and she gives it her all, emotionally and physically, delivering a full account of a woman who does whatever she wants because she believes she can get away with it,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

Queen Of Hearts’ – Trailer 

Opening in Denmark on March 28, the film enjoyed a unanimously enthusiastic reception from the press, signing off five and, mostly, six-star reviews. Admissions have currently reached 332,000. The script is written by Maren Louise Käehne in collaboration with el-Toukhy. Producers are Caroline Blanco and René Ezra for Nordisk Film. 

Before the Frost

‘Before the Frost’ was warmly received at its Toronto world premiere in 2018. Jesper Christensen as the aging farmer Jens in 1850s Denmark was highlighted by The Hollywood Reporter as a “tour-de-force performance,” which earned him awards in Chicago and Tokyo. Michael Noer, who premiered his remake of ‘Papillon’ at 2017’s Toronto Festival, also picked up a Special Jury Award in Tokyo. 

Before The Frost – Trailer

The historical drama premiered in national theaters on January 10 to enthusiastic reviews, with admissions to date reaching 209,000. Noer wrote the script with Jesper Fink, and the film is produced by Matilda Appelin, René Ezra and Tomas Radoor for Nordisk Film.


‘Daniel’ is an adaptation of Danish writer and journalist Puk Damsgård’s novel about the Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye who was held hostage by Islamic State for 398 days in Syria by Islamic State along with several other foreign nationals, including the American journalist James Foley. Niels Arden Oplev, who has directed several US films and TV series, has helmed the film with Anders W. Berthelsen, who also co-stars alongside Esben Smed in the title role. 

Ser Du Månen, Daniel – Trailer

The script is by Anders Thomas Jensen, who was behind Susanne Bier’s 2011 Oscar winner ‘In a Better World’. Morten Kaufmann and Signe Leick Jensen from Toolbox Film have produced the film, which opens on August 29.

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