A WAR and THE FENCER selected for the Oscars

Two Nordic films have progressed to the next round of the Best Foreign Language academy award. Finland’s The Fencer and Denmark’s A War will compete alongside seven other international films for the award at the Academy Awards in February 2016.

The Fencer, directed by Klaus Haro, has already been nominated for the Golden Globe Best Foreign Film. Fleeing from the Russian secret police because of his controversial past, a young Estonian fencer named Endel is forced to return to his homeland, where he begins to train a group of young children in the art of fencing. The past however catches up with him and Endel has to choose between letting his students down or putting his life in danger. The movie is partially based on the real life story of an Estonian fencer Endel Nelis (1925-1993).

A War is already set for a cinema release in February 2016 in the United States, so the nomination will be an added boost for the feature, which is directed by Tobias Lindholm. Company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile back in Denmark Claus’ wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for him – and his family back home.


We had the opportunity to speak to Tobias Lindholm about the films themes and importance, and you can read the interview in our magazine.

The other films competing for the Academy Award are:

Belgium, The Brand New Testament

Colombia, Embrace Of The Serpent


France, Mustang

Germany, Labyrinth Of Lies

Hungary, Son Of Saul

Ireland, Viva

Jordan, Theeb


The list will be shortlisted down to five nominees before the winner is announced. The final nominees will be announced on the 14th of January 2016.


CategoriesDenmark Finland
Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.