Valdimar Jóhannsson’s Lamb has been selected as Iceland’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2022 Academy Awards. Lamb, which debuted in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and won its Prize of Originality is Jóhannsson’s first feature and is released domestically by A24. This past weekend, it hit the Top 10 for the second frame running at the North American box office, surging past $2M.
Jóhannsson co-wrote the screenplay with celebrated Icelandic poet Sjón. Noomi Rapace, who is also an executive producer, stars in the dark and malevolent folktale about a childless couple in rural Iceland who make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn and soon face the consequences of defying the will of nature.
Prior to its U.S. debut, Lamb took prizes at the Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival. Panda, the sheepdog in the movie, also shared the Palm Dog Awards’ Jury Prize in Cannes.
In its home market, the movie opened September 24 via Sena and has held in the Top 5 amid Hollywood newcomers. At open in the U.S., the R-rated picture grossed $1.1M, becoming the highest grossing Icelandic film of all time in the market. It is the first title distributed by A24 to be selected as a country’s official entry for the Best International Feature Oscar race and is carrying an 84% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Iceland has previously scored one Oscar nomination in this category, for 1991’s Children Of Nature by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. Baltasar Kormakur’s 2012 drama The Deep made the shortlist.