Triangle of Sadness
Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund holds two Palme d'Or awards, including one at the Cannes Film Festival. He recently won six Guldbagge awards, including Best Director and Best Film. On Monday evening, Östlund hosted a huge celebration for winning all six awards at once.
Speaking with the publication Deadline on Tuesday, Erik Östlund is elated to learn that his film Triangle of Sadness received three Oscar nominations. These three nominations included Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.
A boat captain becomes unhinged after being recruited to transport a high-end, wealthy and famous celebrity couple for a cruise. The film follows Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya, a model couple, as they are transported on the ship. Once en route, the boat capsized and passengers were forced to survive on an uninhabited island.
Prioritizing equality and receiving recognition are important themes in this piece by Östlund. He discusses his Oscar nominations as well as his upcoming project.
What was the general mood in the room when the nominations were announced?
Ruben Ostenld’s assessment of the Swedish Awards ceremony is impossible to deny: the event was fantastic. The Guldbagges were held the day before, and Ostenld and his coworkers won six awards. This led to a beer celebration. Today, we were in a public place trying to figure out how we felt. I sat with my work colleagues, friends, and people involved in the film. My mind always goes back to a YouTube clip of a Swedish film director who freaked out when he didn’t get any nominations for Force Majeure. But this time, it wasn’t like that YouTube clip at all. In fact, we were at a restaurant called The Frog Grodan in Stockholm called by my co-workers, friends and the director of the film. And I was really nervous like I expected nothing at all. We were surprised when we won because it felt like we were bragging about the script. When the people announcing Best Director and Best Picture, we felt like we were in shock. When we learned about this amazing occurrence, we were ecstatic. We didn’t expect it, and we laughed when we realized it.
It seems ironic that you chose another top-prize award with your film about race, social class and elite status.
I take pride in these awards because they help my film get the attention it deserves. People are concerned with movies like mine and they hope to fix the world's problems. I love that people care about equality so much and I’m thankful for this honor.
Do you still find it surprising that your film has received such a positive response? Do you think people respond to the film because it’s a fantastic out-of-the-box idea?
I encourage everyone to attend a viewing of the film in a theater with many people. Doing so makes the film an event to experience, and I’m grateful that it helped me realize my ultimate goal: creating a wild, adult-focused adventure ride. Seeing the film causes feelings and images to seem real in one's mind. When filming the film's most memorable scene, the food poisoning, I wanted to push the audience further than expected. Doing this created tension that wasn't present in a safer scene.
Nominated three times now, this award show partnership has proved to be a success. What does the recognition mean to you moving forward?
You’re always excited to receive Oscars because they’re one of the most attention-grabbing prizes in the world. When this happens, your phone is inundated with messages and notifications. Of course it’s amazing to be a part of the Oscars’ prestige and brand. This can be felt through the joy and excitement one experiences throughout the ceremony.
What’s next on your agenda?
My film The Entertainment System is Down takes place on a flight that spans over 15 hours. Shortly after takeoff, passengers learn that the entertainment system is out of commission. They have to endure 15 hours of in-person digital distraction without power to their devices. This scenario is especially traumatic for those who suffer from smartphone or iPad addiction.
It sounds like another awards discussion is in the works with this film's plot. What attracts you to social satire movies?
Making films like this provides a great way to talk about society and history. You can always see the political message in our core of our society, which makes this sort of project a great way to tackle serious issues. These films are also very entertaining; however, they still manage to be very serious in nature.
The Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theater on March 12.