Inside Husavik’s Oscar Bid for a ‘Eurovision Music Contest’ Movie Anthem

HUSAVIK, Iceland — On a latest Monday, within the again room of an empty seaside resort right here, a gaggle of locals gathered anxiously round a pc livestreaming the 93rd Academy Awards nominations, ready to find whether or not their campaigning had been profitable.

A little bit after 1 p.m. got here the excellent news, and the residents heard the identify of their city stated in an American accent yet another time: “Husavik,” a track from the Netflix movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” was nominated for finest authentic track.

The track will get its identify from this tiny coastal city — which can also be residence to the movie’s fundamental characters — and for weeks, residents had been working to get the track an Oscar nomination.

“I teared up” on listening to the information, stated Orlygur Orlygsson, 37, one of many campaigners gathered within the resort. “The movie gave Husavik worldwide recognition, and we needed to do the identical for the track.” But he was nonetheless shocked by the nomination, he stated.

Among the many 2,300 folks dwelling on this harbor city perched on Iceland’s northern coast, Orlygsson could be the highest-profile fan of “Fireplace Saga.” He owns a restaurant known as Ja Ja Ding Dong, named after a foolish track from the movie. And in February, when “Husavik” was one of many 15 tracks on the Academy’s longlist for finest track, Orlygsson began the marketing campaign to influence Academy members to appoint it.

“Fireplace Saga” tells the story of two musicians from Husavik, performed by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. The pair — who’re “in all probability not” brother and sister — are chosen by default to signify Iceland within the Eurovision Music Contest after a ship carrying extra distinguished Icelandic singers explodes.

Off they go into the world of “neon lights and billboards,” though in the long run they uncover that there’s no place like residence. “Husavik” is their Eurovision act, the movie’s triumphant climax.

When the movie arrived on Netflix in June, critics weren’t impressed. Jeannette Catsoulis wrote in her review for The New York Times that “this over-egged farce whips slapstick and cheese into an genuine soufflé of tastelessness.”

However followers of the Eurovision Song Contest — which attracts 200 million tv viewers annually — embraced the movie in a pandemic 12 months when the actual contest was canceled for the primary time since its inception in 1956. And as soon as the residents of Husavik started their on-line marketing campaign, 1000’s of these followers spread the word on social media.

The marketing campaign contains a fictional Husavik resident named Oskar Oskarsson who, in a video posted to the marketing campaign’s website, raves in regards to the city, the place the one factor lacking is “one other Oskar.”

Within the tongue-in-cheek video, a girl pretends {that a} fish is an Oscar statue and residents depart items for elves to assist with the marketing campaign. “The folks of Husavik are very excited,” says the marketing campaign’s web site.

The video has been considered as much as 200,000 occasions throughout YouTube and social media platforms, the organizers stated.

The actor within the video is Sigurdur Illugason, an area home painter who’s now performing in the musical “Little Store of Horrors” on the Husavik theater membership for a masked viewers of 50.

Kristjan Magnusson, the mayor of Husavik, stated the marketing campaign’s fundamental worth was to carry the spirits of individuals within the city. “The enjoyable of coming collectively for a giant undertaking is a very powerful factor,” he stated. “The remainder is a bonus.”

Molly Sanden, who sings on the monitor for McAdams’s character, praised the folks of Husavik for rallying behind the track. “The marketing campaign exhibits the city has the guts and spirit the track is about,” she stated in a phone interview from her native Sweden.

She stated she hoped to go to Husavik as quickly because the pandemic is over to see the mountains, Northern Lights and sea gulls described within the track’s lyrics.

The lyrics might apply to most of Iceland’s coastal communities, and the track’s demo was written with Husavik as a spot holder earlier than the movie’s director and producers visited Iceland to resolve on a location to set their movie.

“I first heard a demo of the track once we have been driving round Iceland scouting for places,” stated Leifur Dagfinnsson, who manages the native manufacturing firm True North, which labored on “Fireplace Saga.”

The preliminary plan, he stated, was to discover a city on the southern half of the island close to Reykjavik, the capital, to save cash on transportation. Husavik is nearer to the Arctic Circle and had by no means been the placement for a world movie manufacturing.

However the robust demo that includes Husavik tipped the stability in favor of the northern city.

“Husavik is simpler to pronounce than different Icelandic city names,” Dagfinnsson stated. That gave it a transparent benefit lyrics-wise over Stykkisholmur (Stikk-is-hohlm-ur), a city that he stated “would have made sense from a budgetary standpoint.”

In Husavik, whale-watching boats outnumber fishing vessels and — opposite to the city in “Fireplace Saga” — it has half a dozen bars.

Tourism is the city’s fundamental trade, and a part of the explanation a gaggle of adults have had the time to marketing campaign for the track is the widespread underemployment introduced on by the pandemic. The residents hope vacationers will likely be singing the city’s identify into their vehicles’ GPS now that Iceland is permitting vaccinated foreign visitors.

Leonardo Piccione, an Italian artist who lives in Husavik, famous that the tiny city had related “two of the best tv occasions on the planet,” including, “That’s one thing to work with, I feel.”

The campaigners hope to construct on the publicity of the Oscar nomination to open a Eurovision museum subsequent to the Ja Ja Ding Dong cafe, with memorabilia from Icelandic contestants who’ve by no means gained the competitors. And, in fact, they may launch extra movies of Oskar Oskarsson when Academy members start voting subsequent month.

Extensively predicted to win finest authentic track is “Speak Now” from “One Night time in Miami” or the Golden Globe winner “Io Si (Seen)” from “The Life Forward.” Additionally nominated are “Battle for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” the third Netflix movie within the class.

Win or lose, “Husavik” is now a part of the material of the city right here. The native soccer staff, the Volsungs, blasts the soundtrack earlier than matches, and the kids’s choir recurrently performs the Icelandic a part of the track.

Savan Kotecha, an govt producer of “Fireplace Saga,” co-wrote the lyrics to the track utilizing Google Translate for the Icelandic traces and Google road view to get a way of the city.

“It didn’t happen to me the track would come to have a particular which means for the folks there,” he stated in an interview. “Now, in all sincerity, we wish to win for Husavik.”

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