Iceland’s big bid for an Academy Award this year is the show-stopping, soaring ballad “Husavik (My Hometown)” from the Netflix movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” Written by Fat Max Gsus, Rickard Göransson, and Savan Kotecha, the track is up for Best Original Song at the Oscars, and Swedish pop star Molly Sandén got the chance to belt it out during a glorious pre-taped performance that took place in the real town of Husavik. While the performance aired during the Academy Awards pre-show, you can watch it below.
In the lead-up to the Academy Awards, Icelanders have rallied behind the song from the spoofy comedy starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. Husavik, a town of just about 2,300 people, began staging a grassroots Oscar campaign earlier this year.
“It’s such a beautiful song about our town,” Örlygur Örlygsson, a local entrepreneur spearheading the campaign, told the Associated Press. “It lifted the spirits of the people so much. People became optimistic that we would get somehow through this thing.”
“My Hometown” has become something of an anthem for this small Icelandic community, with the song now being sung in schools and churches, and even played on loudspeakers ahead of soccer games. “We decided to do whatever we could to help. We set up a website, we made a campaign video,” Örlygsson said. “A lot of people, especially the young folks in town, were heavily involved.”
Director David Dobkin has credited the grassroots campaign as the reason why the song went from underdog to a possible winner in just a few months since nominations were announced in January.
“It’s funny — one of my producers said to me, when we finally got the OK to shoot [in Husavik], ‘This little town will never be the same again. If your movie does well, it’s going to be flooded with tourists!’ But they really embraced it,” Dobkin told Yahoo!. “When we came in to shoot there for four days, we took over the place, as movies do — even in your best intentions, you still walk like an elephant through the garden. But they were really so accommodating and sweet, and the mayor gave us gifts and we ate all kinds of dried fish and things.”
Coincidentally, this year also marks the 20th anniversary of Icelandic pop star Björk’s iconic “Dancer in the Dark” performance at the 2001 Oscars.