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Prize Fighter: Denmark's Oscar foreign film entry 'A Royal Affair' director Nikolaj Arcel, star Mads Mikkelsen

As part of an early look at next year’s Oscars, Prize Fighter over the coming weeks will highlight several of the directors and official entries submitted by a whopping 71 countries competing for the Academy Award for best foreign language film.

Danish films over the past several years have earned some major love from the Academy Awards, from director Susanne Bier’s drama In a Better World snagging the best foreign film trophy in 2011, to her movie After the Wedding, starring Danish mega lead Mads Mikkelsen, earning a nomination in 2007.

Denmark’s official 2013 Oscar entry, Nikolaj Arcel’s hybrid political-romantic period drama A Royal Affair, also starring Mikkelsen, has been touted as a contender floated towards the top of the foreign film category’s pack. Denmark may be a small country, north of Germany, south of Sweden and Norway, but it packs a punch when it comes to filmmaking. Arcel, for instance, co-wrote the screenplay for the original 2009 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Swedish crossover knockout Noomi Rapace.

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