Sidse Babett Knudsen

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Sidse Babett Knudsen
Sidse Babett Knudsen César 2016.jpg
Knudsen at the César Awards 2016 ceremony.
Born (1968-11-22) 22 November 1968 (age 48)[1]
Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present

Sidse Babett Knudsen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈsisə b̥ab̥ɛd̥ ˈkʰnusn̩]; born 22 November 1968)[1] is a Danish actress who works in theatre, television, and film. Knudsen made her screen debut in the 1997 improvisational comedy Let's Get Lost, for which she received both the Robert and Bodil awards for Best Actress.

Following the critical success of her debut, Knudsen has been considered one of the top Danish actresses of her generation.[2][3] In 2000, she again won both best actress awards for the comedy romance Den Eneste Ene (English title: The One and Only).[4] In 2016, she won the César Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Courted (L'Hermine).[5] Knudsen has also received award nominations for her roles in Monas Verden (Mona's World) and Efter brylluppet (After the Wedding).

Knudsen achieved international recognition for her leading role as fictional Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in the Danish TV series Borgen.[6]

Early career[edit]

Knudsen was born 22 November 1968 in Copenhagen, the daughter of Ebbe Knudsen, a photographer, and Susanne Andersen, a school teacher. From 1987 to 1990, she trained in acting at the Theatre de l'Ombre in Paris despite knowing little French.[7] Upon returning to Denmark, Knudsen played roles for the experimental theatre OVINE 302 as well as at the Betty Nansen and Royal Danish Theatres in Copenhagen. She is unmarried and has a son, born in 2005.[8]

Film career[edit]

In 1997 Knudsen debuted in the lead role of Julie in Jonas Elmer's slice-of-life comedy Let's Get Lost. The film's script was only an outline, requiring the actors to improvise their roles and dialogue.[9] Knudsen said she wasn't very good at improvisation and accepted the part only because she thought it would be a lightweight summer comedy.[7] The film became a breakout hit in Denmark and Knudsen received both the Robert Award and the Bodil Award for Best Actress.[10] Critics called Knudsen's performance dominating.[4] Film critic Kim Skotte of Politiken wrote that Knudsen had hit a new tone with a "special ability to capture the modern woman's uncertainty and strength."[11]

Following her appearance in the 1999 television mystery Motello, Knudsen played the lead character in Susanne Bier's 1999 romantic comedy Den Eneste Ene. The film became one of the decade's biggest box-office hits in Denmark.[12] It marked a new direction in modern Danish romantic comedies with credit given to Knudsen's acting style.[11] Knudsen's portrayal of Sus, a woman who becomes pregnant by her unfaithful husband while she loves another man, again earned her both the Robert Award and the Bodil Award for Best Actress.

Knudsen returned to work with Elmer in 2000 as the title character in the comedy Mona's Verden. As in Elmer's first film, Knudsen was required to improvise her dialogue and character.[13] Knudsen's portrayal of Mona, an uptight accountant who tries to stave off the romantic infatuation of a bank robber while being held hostage, earned her a Bodil Award nomination for Best Actress.[14]


Year Title Role Director Notes
1995 Juletestamentet Mercedes Nikolaj Cederholm TV Series (23 Episodes)
1996 Charlot og Charlotte Helle Ole Bornedal TV Mini-Series
1997 Let's Get Lost Julie Jonas Elmer Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Robert Festival - Best Actress
Thérapie russe Sidse Eric Veniard
En stille død Sally Jannik Johansen Short
Fanny Farveløs Natasha Arthy Short
Drengen de kaldte Kylling Natasha Arthy (2) TV Mini-Series
Taxa Milla Anders Refn TV Series (1 Episode)
Gufol mysteriet Weeping Woman Morten Lorentzen TV Series (1 Episode)
1998 Motello Julie Steen Rasmussen & Michael Wikke
Strisser på Samsø Hanne Jensen Eddie Thomas Petersen TV Series (2 Episodes)
1999 The One and Only Sus Susanne Bier Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Robert Festival - Best Actress
Mifune's Last Song Bibbi Søren Kragh-Jacobsen
2000 Mirakel Mona Petersen Natasha Arthy (3)
Max Sarah 'Max' Engell Trine Piil Christensen
2001 Chop Chop Rita Niels Arden Oplev
Monas verden Mona Jonas Elmer (2) Nominated - Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
2002 Drengen der ville gøre det umulige Woman Jannik Hastrup
2003 Se til venstre, der er en svensker Katrine Natasha Arthy (4) Nominated - Robert Festival - Best Actress
Dogville : The Pilot Grace Lars von Trier Short
2004 Villa Paranoia Olga Holmgård Erik Clausen
Fakiren fra Bilbao Louise Peter Flinth
Bjørno & Bingo Bingo Sabine Ravn Short
Proof Nina Kutpreka Ciaran Donnelly TV Series (4 Episodes)
2006 After the Wedding Helene Hansson Susanne Bier (2) Rouen Nordic Film Festival - Best Actress
Zulu Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated - Robert Festival - Best Actress
2007 Til døden os skiller Bente Paprika Steen
2008 Blå mænd Lotte Rasmus Heide Zulu Award for Best Supporting Actress
2009 Over gaden under vandet Anne Charlotte Sieling
Æblet & ormen Sylvia Anders Morgenthaler & Mads Juul
2010 Parterapi Puk Agerbo Kenneth Kainz Zulu Award for Best Actress
2010-13 Borgen Birgitte Nyborg Jesper W. Nielsen, Louise Friedberg, ... TV Series (30 Episodes)
Monte-Carlo Television Festival - Outstanding Actress - Drama Series
Nominated - International Emmy Award for Best Actress
2012 Sover Dolly på ryggen ? Sandra Hella Joof
2014 The Duke of Burgundy Cynthia Peter Strickland Torino Film Festival - Best Actress
Speed Walking Lizzi Niels Arden Oplev (2) Nominated - Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Robert Festival - Best Actress
1864 Johanne Luise Heiberg Ole Bornedal (2) TV Mini-Series
2015 Courted Ditte Lorensen-Coteret Christian Vincent César Award for Best Supporting Actress
2016 150 Milligrams Irène Frachon Emmanuelle Bercot Pending - César Award for Best Actress
Pending - Lumières Award for Best Actress
Inferno Elizabeth Sinskey Ron Howard
A Hologram for the King Hanne Tom Tykwer
Westworld Theresa Cullen Jonathan Nolan, Fred Toye, ... TV Series (8 Episodes)
2017 Ikitie Sara Antti-Jussi Annila


  1. ^ a b "Sidse Babett Knudsen". Danske Film Database. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Morten Piil, Danske Filmskuespillere, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2001, p.238
  3. ^ Karin Schmidt, "En rigtig stjerne", B.T., 23 November 2002, retrieved 27-05-2009
  4. ^ a b (Piil 2001, p. 238)
  5. ^ "Cesar Awards: Philippe Faucon's Drama 'Fatima' Wins Best Film". Variety. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (5 January 2012). "Nothing Like A Dane". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  7. ^ a b (Piil 2001, p. 240)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Peter Schepelern, "Internationalisering og dogme", 100 Års Dansk Film, Copenhagen; Rosinante, 2001 p. 343
  10. ^ Morten Piil, "Barbara versus Babett", Information, 10 March 1998
  11. ^ a b Kim Skotte, "Den Eneste Ene er et nyt kapitel i historien om den danske komedie", Politiken, 1 April 1999, written in Danish as "Med Let's Get Lost blev det slået fast, at dansk film i Sidse Babett Knudsen havde fået en skuespillerinde, som ramte en helt ny tone. En skuespillerinde med en særlig evne til at indfange den moderne kvindes usikkerhed og styrke."
  12. ^ (Schepelern 2001, p. 313)
  13. ^ Christian Monggaard, "At improvisere er at lytte", (Danish), Information,, 31 August 2001
  14. ^ "Stor jævnbyrdighed i nomineringerne til årets Bodil-fest", B.T., January 11, 2002, retrieved 27-05-2009


  • Morten Piil, Danske Filmskuespillere, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2001 ISBN 87-00-46576-3
  • Peter Schepelern, "Internationalisering og dogme", from 100 Års Dansk Film, Copenhagen; Rosinante, 2001 ISBN 87-621-0157-9

External links[edit]