Iceland chose Lamb, a folk horror film starring Noomi Rapace (The girl with the dragon tattoo), to represent the country in the race for the Oscars 2022 in the category of best international feature film.
The film, from first-time director Valdimar Johannsson, premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes this year, where it won a special award for originality. Lamb has just been screened at the famous Sitges Fantastic Film Festival in Spain, winning first prize for best feature film as well as the honor of best actress for Rapace.
Lamb combines Nordic folk legend with elements of horror in its story of a farming couple without children (Raptor and Icelandic actor Hilmir Snær Gudnason) who, during lambing season, make a surprising discovery in their sheepfold – a discovery that will tear their world apart. A24 reclaimed the North American rights to the film and bowed Lamb in limited release earlier this month.
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Genre films, especially international ones, can struggle at the Oscars, but there is precedent for folk-flavored Nordic horror to have won the Academy. In 2019, the Swedish drama Frontier, about mythical trolls living in modern Scandinavia, landed an Oscar nomination for best hairstyle and makeup.
Iceland has only been nominated once for an Oscar: for Fridrik Thor film Fridriksson Children of Nature in 1991. The small nation has yet to win an Oscar.
The list of candidates for the 2022 Oscars will be unveiled on December 21. Nominations will be announced on February 8. The 94th Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022.