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11 Reasons To Think Dutch On Oscar Night

All eyes will turn to the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 22, but we’re paying special attention to one film, “A Single Life” by Job, Joris & Marieke, which has been nominated for an Oscar in the Short Film (Animated) category. Meanwhile, we can think of no better time to celebrate the Dutch influence on American movies, whether it’s behind the director’s chair or bringing characters to life on the screen.

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1. Carice van Houten


What better way to start this list than with Carice van Houten? The Dutch beauty first made a name for herself in “Black Book” (“2006”), the most commercially successful Dutch film to date. Since then, she has since appeared in “Valkyrie” (2008), “Repo Men” (2010), and “Black Death” (2010), but is perhaps best known these days as the priestess Melisandre of Asshai from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Yeah, you don’t want to mess with her.

2. Michiel Huisman


Michiel Huisman is among the younger players our list, and is starting to make a name for him in America. He appeared in “World War Z” (2013) and “Wild” (2014), but you might recognize him more as bad-boy producer Liam McGuinnis in NBC’s “Nashville” or Daario Naharis in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” You’ll want to keep an eye on this one.

3. Jan de Bont


Jan de Bont has placed his Dutch stamp as cinematographer on US thrillers including “Die Hard” (1988), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), and “Basic Instinct” (1992), but jumped into the director’s seat for “Speed” (1994) and “Twister” (1996). Good thing he chose to make a cow fly instead of a pig because, well, we all know what happens when pigs fly.

4. Rutger Hauer


Rutger Hauer has lit up the silver screen for nearly 50 years, but he hit his stride with American audiences playing a string of villains in “Nighthawks” (1981), “Blade Runner” (1982), and “The Hitcher” (1986). By the end of the 1980s, his name alone could send shivers down your spine.

5. Jeroen Krabbé


You may know Jeroen Krabbé only by his face, but now you know his name. Jeroen has appeared in more than 50 films, including “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (1986), “The Living Daylights” (1987), “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004), and “Transporter 3” (2008). But you may recognize him best as Dr. Charles Nichols, the friend and colleague of Harrison Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble in “The Fugitive” (1993). Yeah, he had quite a fist fight with Harrison Ford at the end. How many actors can say they fought both Han Solo and Indiana Jones?

8. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”


You might be surprised to see Steven Spielberg's 1989 action-adventure on our list, but Dutch screenwriter, director and producer Menno Meyjes received a story-by credit alongside George Lucas for this blockbuster. He also wrote the screenplay for "The Color Purple" (1985), which Spielberg also directed. See? There really is no limit to what the people of our two nations can accomplish when we work together.

9. Paul Verhoeven


No list of influential Dutch movie directors would be complete without Paul Verhoeven, who directed “Robocop” (1987), “Total Recall” (1990), “Basic Instinct” (1992), and many others. While his movies are known for graphic violence, they also crossed all sorts of cinematic boundaries. After all, who would ever thought to make a movie in which the killer uses an ice pick as a murder weapon? An ice pick! Paul Verhoeven, that’s who.

10. “Pulp Fiction”


No, we aren’t taking credit for Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 American classic, but we love how Vincent Vega (John Travolta) talks early in the movie about his time in Amsterdam and how we Dutchies douse our fries with mayonnaise. In fact, the filmmaker references the Netherlands in many of his movies. We’ve also read that Tarantino wrote the script for “Pulp Fiction” when he was showing his previous film, “Reservoir Dogs,” at European film festivals in the spring of 1992. So you have to wonder: Would “Pulp Fiction” have been the same without some Dutch influence?

11. “Showgirls”


Yes, we know we already included Paul Verhoeven on this list, but his directing of “Showgirls” (1995) deserves special mention. After all, this gem of a film fell flat with American theater audiences at the start, and might well have stunted Elizabeth Berkley’s career as a movie actress. But, hey, “Showgirls” has since become a cult classic, so that’s something. Right?