(Reuters) -Comedy-drama “Another Round,” about four friends who test alcohol’s ability to improve their lives, won the Oscar for best international film on Sunday, becoming the fourth Danish film to take home an Oscar.
Director Thomas Vinterberg, who was also nominated for best director, dedicated the Oscar to his late daughter Ida, 19, who was to have a role in the film but was killed in an automobile accident four days into shooting.
“We ended up making this movie for her as her monument,” Vinterberg said upon receiving his statuette.
Vinterberg said Ida had written him a letter upon reading the script two months before shooting.
“She was glowing with excitement. … And if anyone dares to believe that she’s here with us somehow, you’ll be able to see her clapping, clapping and cheering with us,” Vinterberg said, choking up slightly.
The film, starring Mads Mikkelsen, portrays high school teachers in various stages of midlife crisis who try to reinvent themselves by drinking.
Mikkelsen, known for playing Hollywood villains and antiheroes, is a trained dancer and performs an extended drunken dance in the film, much of it wearing just one shoe.
It was considered a front-runner in the category. Vinterberg, a co-founder of the Danish “Dogme 95” movement of low-budget naturalistic filmmaking, was a prior Oscar nominee for 2012’s “The Hunt,” also with Mikkelsen.
Vinterberg said the idea for the film sprang from looking at the many accomplishments in world history of people who were drunk.
“We very quickly realized that this socially accepted liquor that elevates people, makes people merry and makes people make great decisions, also kills people and destroys families,” he said.
“We wanted to make a movie that explores the whole spectrum of alcohol, but more importantly… wanted to make a life-affirming film about living instead of just existing,” Vinterberg added
Previous Danish Oscar winners were the 1987 film “Babette’s Feast,” 1989 winner “Pelle the Conqueror,” and 2011 winner “In a Better World.”
Other nominees in the best international film category this year were Hong Kong’s “Better Days,” Romania’s “Collective,” “The Man Who Sold His Skin” from Tunisia, and Bosnian war drama “Quo Vadis, Aida?”
The five nominees were picked from among 93 contenders.
“The Man Who Sold His Skin,” the first Tunisian film to be nominated for an Academy Award, was a satirical drama about a Syrian refugee who agrees to have his back tattooed and becomes a living artwork in exchange for a European visa. Written and directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, it was inspired by the true-life story of a Belgian tattoo artist.
War drama “Quo Vadis, Aida?” from Bosnia and Herzegovina was about a woman fighting to save the men of her family during the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica. The film, directed by Jasmila Zbanic, centers on Aida, a translator for the United Nations when the Bosnian Serb Army takes over the town during the Bosnian war.
“Collective” was a documentary about corruption and incompetence in Romania’s healthcare system that examined the cause of a deadly nightclub fire and the poor care its survivors received. The film was directed by Alexander Nanau, who had said he hoped to embolden whistleblowers around the world and help reform Romanian society.
Hong Kong’s “Better Days,” a love story about a bullied high school student facing daunting college-entry exams, was adapted from a popular youth novel. The Mandarin-language melodrama starred Zhou Dongyu as a 12th-grader, attacked by a group of mean girls, who befriends a tough-guy criminal played by pop music star Jackson Yee. It was directed by Derek Tsang and shot in mainland China.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Howard Goller)