For the first time ever, a Canadian production company has scored an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film two years in a row. Telefilm Canada congratulates micro_scope on the nomination of Philippe Falardeau‘s Monsieur Lazharfor Best Foreign Language Film.
As announced this morning at the Academy Awards news conference held in Los Angeles, minority Canadian (Poland-Germany) coproduction In Darkness, by Agnieszka Holland, is also among the five contenders in this category. In addition, Canadian composer Howard Shore is nominated for Best Original Score for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo; and Canadian actor Christopher Plummer is in the running for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Beginners. Finally, the short films Dimanche/Sunday by Patrick Doyon and Wild Life by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby are nominated in the category Short Film (Animated). The 84th Oscars ceremony will take place in Hollywood on February 26.
“2011 was a great year for Canadian films funded by Telefilm, which brought home a total of 127 awards from around the world. We expect to see similar honours in 2012, with Canadian films already selected by major festivals like Sundance and Berlin,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “Today’s announcement by the prestigious Academy is a tribute to the talent of Canadian artists and also offers a superb showcase for our industry and our country as a whole.”
Philippe Falardeau, director of Monsieur Lazhar added: “I am very proud of what is happening and would like to share this nomination with all members of my team. Special thoughts go out to my family as well. Never could I have imagined such an outcome when I completed the film and I think no one could have predicted such a journey. It is indeed a joy to see an intimate and sobering film alongside Hollywood productions. It proves there is not only one road to artistic and public recognition, nor are there any preconceived recipes for success. ”
In the history of the Oscars, five Canadian productions have been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film: Incendies, by Denis Villeneuve, in 2011; Water, by Deepa Mehta, in 2006; and three films by Denys Arcand, Le Déclin de l’empire américain, in 1986, Jésus de Montréal, in 1989, and Les Invasions barbares, which won the coveted award in 2003.
Monsieur Lazhar was chosen to represent Canada at the Oscars by a country-wide selection committee chaired by Telefilm and composed of 25 voting members from key government agencies and industry associations.
Monsieur Lazhar was written and directed by Philippe Falardeau and is his fourth feature. Funded by the Canada Feature Film Fund and produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw of micro_scope (producers of Incendies), it is distributed by Les Films Christal, Les Films Seville and Entertainment One. Adapted from a play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, Monsieur Lazhar depicts the encounter of two worlds and the power of self-expression.
In Darkness, a minority Canadian (Poland-Germany) coproduction received development funding from Telefilm Canada through the Canada Feature Film Fund. Directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced in Canada by The Film Works, it tells the story of Leopold Socha, a Polish sewer worker who sheltered and saved the lives of a group of Jews during World War II.
Howard Shore is a renowned, multi-award-winning Canadian composer, whose score for the Martin Scorsese film Hugo is also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Original Music. His work with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings trilogy earned him three Oscars, four Grammys and three Golden Globes. He was one of the original creators of Saturday Night Live and has collaborated with Canadian director David Cronenberg on more than a dozen films.
Legendary Canadian actor Christopher Plummer plays a late-blooming gay father diagnosed with terminal cancer in Beginners, by Mike Mills. He recently won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for this role and is in the running for a BAFTA Award. In 2010 he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in The Last Station by Michael Hoffman.
The short films Dimanche/Sunday by Patrick Doyon and Wild Life by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby were produced by the National Film Board.