Mads Mikkelsen lends steely star power to Denmark's hunt for Oscar

Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:18am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Danish drama "The Hunt" has at least one advantage over its rivals in its bid to win the best foreign-language picture Oscar: the familiar face of Mads Mikkelsen.

Mikkelsen, the 48-year-old star of NBC television thriller "Hannibal," is no unknown to Oscar voters. The Danish actor has starred in three Oscar-nominated films over the last decade from the nation of about 5.6 million people.

Mikkelsen's work in Hollywood and his association with the upper echelon of the Danish film industry underscore his ability to maintain a high profile in both the United States and his home country.

But any mention of his global recognition may be greeted with a shrug from the tall Dane known for his steely countenance.

"Denmark is a small country and if I can make two films a year (here), people start getting sick and tired of you," Mikkelsen said wryly. "So this is kind of nice. I can do more than one (film) per year."

Director Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" ("Jagten") is the fourth Danish film to pick up an Oscar nomination since 2006. It is the third Oscar-nominated film from Denmark to star Mikkelsen, who was in the 2012 period film "A Royal Affair" and the 2006 drama "After the Wedding."

Danish drama "In a Better World," by director Susanne Bier, won the best-foreign language Oscar in 2011, but did not feature Mikkelsen.

In "The Hunt," Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a village kindergarten teacher who is wrongly accused of sexually abusing children at the school, after a friend's young daughter falsely claims he exposed himself to her.   Continued...

Best Actor award winner Mads Mikkelsen for the film "Jagten" (The Hunt) poses during a photocall after the awards ceremony of the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier