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Sidse Babett Knudsen

Sidse Babett Knudsen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈsisə pæpɛt ˈkʰnusn̩]; born 22 November 1968) 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.

Sidse Babett Knudsen
Sidse Babett Knudsen César 2016.jpg
Knudsen at the César Awards 2016 ceremony.
Born (1968-11-22) 22 November 1968 (age 50)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Years active1994–present

Following the critical success of her debut, Knudsen has been considered one of the top Danish actresses of her generation.[1][2] In 2000, she again won both best actress awards for the comedy romance Den Eneste Ene (English title: The One and Only).[3] In 2016, she won the César Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Courted (L'Hermine).[4] 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,[5] and for her role as Theresa Cullen in the HBO science fiction-Western television series Westworld.

Personal lifeEdit

Knudsen was born 22 November 1968 in Copenhagen, the daughter of Ebbe Knudsen, a photographer, and Susanne Andersen, a school teacher.[6] 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 careerEdit

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.[3] 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 1998 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
1997 Let's Get Lost Julie Jonas Elmer
Thérapie russe Sidse Eric Veniard
En stille død Sally Jannik Johansen Short
Fanny Farveløs Mother Natasha Arthy Short
1998 Motello Julie Steen Rasmussen & Michael Wikke
1999 The One and Only Sus Susanne Bier
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)
2002 Drengen der ville gøre det umulige Woman Jannik Hastrup
2003 Se til venstre, der er en svensker Katrine Natasha Arthy (4)
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
2006 After the Wedding Helene Hansson Susanne Bier (2)
2007 Til døden os skiller Bente Paprika Steen
2008 Blå mænd Lotte Rasmus Heide
2009 Over gaden under vandet Anne Charlotte Sieling
Æblet & ormen Sylvia Anders Morgenthaler & Mads Juul
2010 Parterapi Puk Agerbo Kenneth Kainz
2012 Sover Dolly på ryggen ? Sandra Hella Joof
2014 The Duke of Burgundy Cynthia Peter Strickland
Speed Walking Lizzi Niels Arden Oplev (2)
2015 Courted Ditte Lorensen-Coteret Christian Vincent
2016 150 Milligrams Irène Frachon Emmanuelle Bercot
Inferno Elizabeth Sinskey Ron Howard
A Hologram for the King Hanne Tom Tykwer
2017 The Eternal Road Sara Antti-Jussi Annila
2018 Vitello Vitello's Mother Dorte Bengtson
In Fabric Jill Peter Strickland (2)
2019 Kaptajn Bimse Sophie Thomas Borch Nielsen & Kirsten Skytte
Askeladden - I Soria Moria slott Ohlmann Mikkel Brænne Sandemose


Year Title Role Director Notes
1995 Juletestamentet Mercedes Nikolaj Cederholm 23 Episodes
1996 Charlot og Charlotte Helle Ole Bornedal Mini-Series
1997 Drengen de kaldte Kylling Mercedes Natasha Arthy Mini-Series
Taxa Milla Anders Refn 1 Episodes
Gufol mysteriet Weeping Woman Morten Lorentzen
1998 Strisser på Samsø Hanne Jensen Eddie Thomas Petersen 2 Episodes
2004 Proof Nina Kutpreka Ciaran Donnelly 4 Episodes
2010-2013 Borgen Birgitte Nyborg Jesper W. Nielsen 30 Episodes
2014 1864 Johanne Luise Heiberg Ole Bornedal Mini-Series
2016-2018 Westworld Theresa Cullen Jonathan Nolan 9 Episodes
2017 Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams Jill Marc Munden Episode: "Crazy Diamond"
2018 The Simpsons Woman in bar Michael Polcino Episode: "Throw Grampa from the Dane"
Vitello Vitello's Mother Dorte Bengtson 13 Episodes
2019 The Accident Harriet Paulsen Sandra Goldbacher Mini-Series

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
1998 Bodil Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Let's Get Lost Won
Robert Festival Best Actress Won
2000 Bodil Award Best Actress in a Leading Role The One and Only Won
Robert Festival Best Actress Won
2002 Bodil Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Monas verden Nominated
2003 Robert Festival Best Actress Se til venstre, der er en svensker Nominated
2006 Bodil Award Best Actress in a Leading Role After the Wedding Nominated
Robert Festival Best Actress Nominated
Rouen Nordic Film Festival Best Actress Won
Zulu Award Best Actress Won
2008 Zulu Award Best Supporting Actress Blå mænd Won
2010 Best Actress Parterapi Won
2012 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress - Drama Series Borgen Won
International Emmy Award Best Actress Nominated
2014 Torino Film Festival Best Actress The Duke of Burgundy Won
2015 Bodil Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role Speed Walking Nominated
Robert Festival Best Actress Nominated
2016 César Award Best Supporting Actress Courted Won
2017 César Award Best Actress 150 Milligrams Nominated
Lumières Award Best Actress Nominated
2018 Jussi Awards Jussi Award for Best Supporting Actress The Eternal Road Won


  1. ^ Morten Piil, Danske Filmskuespillere, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2001, p.238
  2. ^ Karin Schmidt, "En rigtig stjerne", B.T., 23 November 2002, retrieved 27-05-2009
  3. ^ a b (Piil 2001, p. 238)
  4. ^ "Cesar Awards: Philippe Faucon's Drama 'Fatima' Wins Best Film". Variety. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  5. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (5 January 2012). "Nothing Like A Dane". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  6. ^ "Sidse Babett Knudsen". Danske Film Database. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  7. ^ a b (Piil 2001, p. 240)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2015-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  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 linksEdit