The top names of Sweden’s film industry gathered in Stockholm on Monday 22nd January for the country’s prestigious equivalent of the Academy Awards.
First held in 1964, the Guldbagge Awards are Sweden’s leading film awards presented by the Swedish Film Institute (SFI) for outstanding contribution to Swedish film. Winners of the coveted prize receive the unquestionably unique guldbagge, or ‘gold bug’, a 1.2kg statuette in the shape of a rose chafer beetle.
Notable past winners include The Silence, a 1963 drama film written by Ingmar Bergmann which won Best Film at the first ever Guldbagge Awards ceremony; Stellan Skårsgad (famous in Hollywood for roles in Good Will Hunting and Pirates of the Caribbean, who twice won the Guldbagge for Best Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor; and Tinseltown’s new darling Alicia Vikander, who took home the Best Actress award for her role in 2010’s Pure.
Vying for awards in nineteen categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, qualifying films must have been premiered in the past calendar year and have a running time of at least 70 minutes.
“2017 was a super strong year for Swedish film with many fantastic films,” says Jan Göransson, spokesperson for the Swedish Film Institute. “There were five highly acclaimed films, both nationally and internationally, that were nominated, so it must have been hard work for the jury.”
Hard work it may have been, but the standout star of this year’s Guldbagge Awards was undeniably Swedish thriller film The Nile Hilton Incident which bagged five Guldbagge Awards, including Best Film, Best Male in a Leading Role, Best Costumes, Best Scenography, and Best Sound.
“We are extremely pleased to have the finest recognition a movie can get in Sweden. The past year has been a rewarding experience, and we’re very grateful for the amazing response we’ve had to the film worldwide,” says Kristina Åberg, producer of The Nile Hilton Incident.
Sami Blood was another of the evening’s success stories, winning this year’s Audience Award — as voted for by Swedish cinema-goers. Previously, audiences were able to vote on three films as picked by SFI, whereas this year they were given the chance to pick a winner from the full list of 41 qualifying films.
“Film moves, engages, and sometimes changes people in so many ways, so of course we wanted to hear from people about what film they thought should win,” explains Göransson of the decision to give the audience more control over this year’s winner.
Sami Blood also landed the awards for Best Script and Best Female Actress, which went to Lene Cecilia Sparrok for her role as a 14-year-old Sami girl exposed to the racism of the Swedish society in the 1930s.
Göransson believes that the film’s popularity is in part due to the significance it holds to those in Sweden with Sami heritage.
“It’s an important film to a large group of people who have taken it to heart, and I’m sure the film will be with them for a very long time.”
Despite being the most watched film of 2017, Solsidan, the film adaptation of a popular Scandinavian TV show, failed to clean up at the awards show. It didn’t leave empty-handed, however, and did take home the award for Best Makeup.
This year’s ceremony was also notable for its stars’ attire, with some of Sweden’s most famous industry professionals donning black in solidarity with the #MeToo protest against sexual harassment.
A full list of this year’s winners can be found on the Swedish Film Institute’s website.