Director Martin Zandvliet's film about a group of German POWs who are made to clear Danish beaches of Nazi mines following World War 2 made the cut from the original list of 85 submissions.
It will compete with fellow Scandinavian films ‘Kongens nei' (Norway) and ‘En mann ved navn Ove' (Sweden) as well as feature films from Australia, Canada, Germany, Iran, Russia and Switzerland.
Only five of the nine will be presented as official nominees on January 24th. The Oscars will then be handed out on February 6th in Los Angeles.
Variety tipped ‘Under Sanden' (English title: Land of Mine) as an early favourite but it will face stiff competition from German entry ‘Toni Erdmann', which won the best film, director, actress, actor and screenwriter prizes at the European Film Awards earlier this month.
Danish films have thrice won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, including back-to-back wins in 1987 and 1988 for ‘Babettes gæstebud' (Babette's Feast) and ‘Pelle Erobreren' (Pelle the Conqueror). The most recent win was in 2010, when Susanne Bier took home the Oscar for ‘Hævnen' (In a Better World).
The Afghanistan War drama ‘Krigen' (A War) was a nominee at last year's Academy Awards but lost out to Hungary's ‘Son of Saul'.