Oscar nomination for Guldbaggar reject

The Swedish Film Institute’s Guldbaggar were awarded this week, and the popular favorite "Så som i himmelen" ("Like In Heaven"), which went the competition with eight nominations, came out with nothing.

But director Kay Pollak was somewhat consoled by the news the next day that “Like In Heaven” will be up for best foreign film at the Oscars; for this one he’ll at least get to go to a bigger party.

The Swedish press persisted in viewing the Guldbaggars as a sort of fight to the death between the big cities and the small towns. Dagens Nyheter started a series this week titled “The Battle of the Regions”, and mingled in with the Guldbagge and Oscar stories were reports on Stockholm’s desperate push to become some kind of film town.

Film productions have been moving out to the smaller towns, thanks to some EU funding and concentrated effort. Sweden’s new film centrum is Trollhättan (“Trollywood”), a town of only

50,000 inhabitants.

Only a few films per year are filmed in Stockholm (“Stollywood”?), and Stockholmers find this to be nothing less than a crisis. Last week a few dozen film workers got together and decided to establish the Stockholm Film Commission, with the hope that a bit of local investment in a regional film fund and Stockholm’s own film commissioner would pull in a few more productions.

Film i Väst worked for Trollhättan; something’s got to work for Stockholm, right?

Despite the press, the Guldbaggars didn’t really hold up as a case in the regional debate.

The big awards went to Masjävlar and Fyra nyanser av brunt, produced respectively in Trollhättan and Stockholm. Best film went to Masjävlar; best director to Fyra nyanser av brunt. The rest of the awards for acting and production were distributed between the two.

When the regional-debate discussion puttered out in the press, however, the “scandal” of this year’s Guldbaggars lived on. It’s been speculated that the jury members hadn’t actually seen all of the films, and the makeup of the jury (mostly film-industry top dogs) has of course been questioned.

The procedure for the 32-member jury has been recently changed, and they no longer meet to discuss the nominations or awards – it’s easier for everyone, but some see it as a bit of a problem.

And, of course, what happened to the interesting films? Aftonbladet focused on the lack of nominations for films like “Gitarrmongot”, and “Ett hål i mitt hjärta”, films their reviewer called “Artistic research expeditions burning with courage, filled with creativity.. memorable and important”.

While it’s true that the Guldbaggars focused perhaps a bit too intently on three big films, the lack of interest in smaller, experimental films by national film boards’ juries isn’t really a new issue.

It probably can’t hurt to have the evening papers bluster on about the “scandal” year after year. Perhaps at some point the morning papers will take up the torch.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Aftonbladet