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The Swedish Film Awards 2023

The Swedish Film Awards Winners

On Monday evening, the Swedish Film Awards gala took place at the Circus Theatre in Stockholm. As I mentioned in my text about the nominations, there were some odd features in the process this time around. Shame on Dry Land (Syndabocken) got nine heavy nominations but not for the Best Film. As it turned out, the film won 7 awards. Among them were the best director, cinematography, editing, sound design, and music. The film also snagged two actor’s awards. One went to Joel Spira for best actor in a leading role. The other went to Christopher Wagelin for best actor in a secondary role. Jaqueline Ramel was snubbed (unfairly, in my mind) for best actress in a secondary role.

That prize went to Anja Lundqvist for her part in Lukas Moodysson’s Together 99. This sequel to the international smash hit Together (2000) also won the award for the best script, which was the other nominations that Shame on Dry Land didn’t grab. It should be noted, however, that seven prizes is a record in the Swedish Film Award’s history, beating Ruben Östlund, whose Turist/ Force Majeure/ Snow Therapy (2014) won six awards, as did Triangle of Sadness in 2022. Ali Abassi’s Border also received six awards in 2018. The record number of awards makes the decision not to nominate Shame on Dry Land for best film all the more puzzling.

Syndabocken vinnare
Shame on Dry Land

In the absence of Petersén’s film, Paradise Is Burning was crowned the best film of the year. That was one of merely three nominations. the film received a second award for Best Production Design, meaning that it won as many awards as it did at the Venice Film Festival. The Opponent, which was Sweden’s submission for the Academy Awards, had to settle for a single prize for Best Actress in a Leading Role, which went to Marall Nasiri. The Gullspång Miracle landed the award for Best Documentary. An honorary Golden Beetle was bestowed on veteran Marie Göranzon.

Talking about veterans, Peter Haber was nominated for the first time in 27 years, but he had to settle for an Audience Award for one of the latest iterations in the seemingly endless Beck series, this one being called Beck- Inferno.

The Swedish Film Awards 2023
Paradise is Burning
Paradise is Burning

The major lesson that we learned during this Monday ceremony, hosted by Shima Niavarani, was that the combination of best director, cinematography, editing, sound design, music, and two best actor awards doesn’t necessarily equal best film. The Swedish press didn’t write much about this fact but chose to focus on Paradise is Burning, not winning more awards. The film suffered from the new rule, which blocked debutant actors from being nominated in respective categories. To protest against this rule, the producer of the film decided to cut up the award in three pieces and give it to the young thespians.

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