The tragic story behind Oscar-winning international feature ‘Another Round’
Denmark secured its fourth Academy Award on Sunday night, this time for a life-affirming movie about friendship and alcohol as Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” won the Oscar for international feature.
“Another Round,” or “Druk” as it is known in Danish, is an ode to life and all its perils. Its premise, though, is based on Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud’s theory that humans are born with an alcohol blood level 0.05% too low. In layman’s terms, “Another Round” tests the bounds of what it would mean to get drunk, and then stay drunk, at a consistent level every day.
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, “Another Round” pushes the bounds of such an experiment, taking viewers through an emotional exploration into escapism and humanity. The movie’s heavy topics took on an even deeper resonance after Vinterberg’s 19-year-old daughter, Ida, died in a highway accident four days into shooting “Another Round.” The driver, Vinterberg said during his Oscar acceptance speech, was looking at a cellphone when they crashed into Ida.
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“[Ida] loved this, and she felt seen by this, and she was supposed to be in this, and if anyone dares to believe that she’s here with us somehow, you’ll be able to see her clapping and cheering with us,” Vinterberg said in his speech. “We ended up making this movie for her as her monument. So, Ida, this is a miracle that just happened, and you’re a part of this miracle. Maybe you’ve been pulling some strings somewhere, I don’t know, but this one is for you.”
Two months before Vinterberg shot “Another Round,” Ida sent him a letter from Africa expressing her excitement for the film. Ida planned to play Mikkelsen’s daughter in the film and had shared her passion for the project with her father. Rather than completely halt the movie, Vinterberg decided to honor Ida’s love for the film by finishing the shoot.
“I talked to the psychiatrist, and they were like, ‘Well, if you can work, you should,’” Vinterberg said in an interview with The Times in January. “And then I had a conversation with Mads and the rest of the crew, and we were like, ‘Ida would hate if we stopped. So, we will do the movie for her.’ And we somehow got through it. They carried me through, I would guess.”
When accepting the Oscar, as he had in accepting the BAFTA for best film not in the English language, Vinterberg also dedicated the movie to her.
“Most importantly I want to thank my daughter Ida, who is no longer here. She was more enthusiastic about this project than anyone else had ever been,” Vinterbeg said during his speech. “It made her miss her hometown, Copenhagen, and now we miss her. And we made this movie for her.”
“Another Round” was nominated for best foreign-language film at the Golden Globes (but lost to the Korean-language American production “Minari,” which is nominated for six Oscars but not eligible for international feature). It also has racked up nominations and wins for best international or foreign-language film from multiple critics associations and film festivals.
Although the film is filled to the brim with liquor, Vinterberg said they never actually drank on set. (Instead, the director set up a “booze boot camp” to prepare his actors to act out different levels of inebriation.)
Vinterberg also was nominated for achievement in directing alongside Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”), Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), David Fincher (“Mank”) and winner Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”).
Denmark’s previous Oscar winners — when the category was still called foreign-language film — were “Babette’s Feast” (1987), “Pelle the Conqueror” (1988) and “In a Better World” (2010).
“Another Round” is available to stream on Hulu.
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