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Loved up at the Oscars – with some help from the lesbians

After dodging the bullets of ‘Amour’ and ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’, ‘Jagten’ has a better chance at the Academy Awards in March than the Golden Globes tonight

A different film’s heading to the Oscars, but the star, Mads Mikkelsen, remains the same (Photo: Per Arnesen)

January 12, 2014

by Ben Hamilton

Ahead of the double whammy of the Golden Globes on Sunday January 12 and the confirmation of the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Film four days later, the producers of ‘Jagten’ can rest assured they are very much in the hunt to win the Oscar – even if they fail to win over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

And they have Wild Bunch, the French distributor of Golden Globes favourite ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’, to thank for that.  Displaying the kind of anti-establishment verve that would have made the maverick director Sam Peckinpah proud, it dismissed the October 1 deadline by which the racy drama, which includes a seven-minute lesbian sex scene, needed to be released in France to be eligible as “stupid”.

Wild Bunch stuck to its guns and released the film on October 9. And just in case that wasn’t going to deter voters ahead of next year’s Oscars, it went on to label the category unimportant and not as prestigious as the Palme d’Or.

Among the favourites
Instead, Thomas Vinterberg’s ‘Jagten’ (‘The Hunt’), which is a 6/4 second favourite behind the French entry to win the Golden Globe, faced the challenge of ‘Renoir’, which failed to make the nine-film shortlist confirmed on the Friday before Christmas.

The other eight films in contention are ‘The Great Beauty’ (Italy), ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ (Belgium), ‘An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker’ (Bosnia & Herzegovina), ‘Two Lives’ (Germany), ‘The Notebook’ (Hungary), ‘The Grandmaster’ (Hong Kong), ‘The Missing Picture’ (Cambodia) and ‘Omar’ (Palestine).

Four years on the trot
The inclusion of ‘Jagten’ marks the fourth straight year a Danish film has made the shortlist. ‘In a Better World’ (‘Hæven’) went on to win for 2010, Superclásico failed to make the final cut for 2011, and ‘En kongelige affære’ (‘A Royal Affair’) was widely believed to have finished second behind the mighty ‘Amour’ last year.

Only one of the films on the Oscar shortlist, ‘The Great Beauty’ (a 13/2 chance to win the Globe), made it onto the Golden Globes shortlist, which was confirmed on December 12. Along with ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ (the 5/8 favourite), Iran’s ‘The Past’ and Japan’s ‘The Wind Rises’ (both 9s) make up the quintet.

In between the lesbians and the oldies in love
Should ‘Jagten’ end up missing out on the Globe but winning the Oscar, the irony of its timing will not go unnoticed. Against ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ for the Golden Globes, it is competing with a film that is exactly 12 months its junior, while the 2012 Oscar winner ‘Amour’, which it lost to at the 2013 BAFTAs, was like ‘Jagten’ first screened at Cannes in 2012.

‘Jagten’ is one of four Danish productions hopeful of an Oscar nomination on January 16. Joshua Oppenheimer’s ‘The Act of Killing’ (Documentary Feature), Anders Walter’s ‘Helium’ (Live Action Short), and Michelle Kranot and Uri Kranot’s ‘Hollow Land’ (Animated Short) have all made their respective shortlists heading to the big reveal.

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