Morten Tyldum Biography

Director, Filmmaker (1967–)
After years in the industry in Norway, Morten Tyldum became an overnight success in Hollywood with his first English-language film, 'The Imitation Game.'


Morten Tyldum was born in Norway in 1967 and struck out for New York after graduating from high school. After making a couple of small films in Norway, Tyldum hit it big with his 2011 film Headhunters, which became the top-grossing movie in Norwegian history. His next project, the 2014 English-language film The Imitation Game, would be his highest-profile work yet. It has gone on to universal acclaim, winning dozens of awards. It was also a multiple-Oscar nominee at the 2015 Academy Awards, with Tyldum himself receiving a nod for Best Director.

Early Years

Morten Tyldum was born in Norway in 1967 and moved to New York City after high school to study film at the prestigious School of Visual Arts. After three years at SVA, Tyldum returned to Norway, hoping to work and save up money for his senior year. Life intervened in his plans, however, when he worked as an editor on a TV pilot and sold short student films to a Norwegian TV station. He abandoned his plans to return to New York when the opportunity arose to direct a TV series in his home country, and he dropped out of SVA.

Early Career

The early 1990s found Tyldum directing Norwegian TV movies, shows and miniseries, but in 1996 he stepped away from the small screen long enough to make his first film, a short called Lorenzo. His first feature-length film, Buddy (2003), took home awards at the Norwegian International Film Festival, the Warsaw International Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Despite this critical success, it would be five years until he would direct another film, 2008's Varg Veum - Falne Engler (Fallen Angels). His third film, 2011’s Headhunters, got a big boost when HBO’s Game of Thrones appeared that same year and Headhunters’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s star rose as Jaime Lannister, one of the more memorable villains to come to TV in recent years. Whether due to Coster-Waldau’s popularity or not, Headhunters eventually became the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all time, and Tyldum was offered the chance to direct his first English-language film, The Imitation Game.

Imitation Game Photo

For more about the film Imitation Game and check out our interview with director Morten Tyldum and the cast. 

The Imitation Game

Based on the life of WWII code-cracking mathematician Alan Turing, The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and it was a critical and audience favorite right out of the gate. It was nominated for more than 100 awards and won 43, including the American Film Institute’s Movie of the Year award, National Board of Review Top Ten Films award and the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice award. Tyldum won Director of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards.

The nominations also piled up from the Academy Awards, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and the Golden Globes, accounting for more than 20 nominations across categories. Tyldum and both his lead actors were nominated for their Oscar categories, as was the film itself for Best Editing, Best Music, Best Production Design, and Best Picture. It won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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