5 Cana­dian facts to know for the 2017 Oscars

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

TORONTO — From a jazzy Ryan Gosling, to a Mon­treal team be­hind “Ar­rival,” and a trio of home­grown an­i­ma­tors, there’s a healthy dose of Canuck among this year’s Os­car nom­i­nees.

Here are five Cana­dian bul­let points for Sun­day’s show, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kim­mel on ABC and CTV:

1. Ga-ga for Gosling

Awards shows have been show­er­ing the Lon­don, Ont., na­tive with nom­i­na­tions for his “La La Land” role as a jazz pi­anist who f alls in love with a fledg­ling actress, played by Emma Stone.

The for­mer “Mickey Mouse Club” star has al­ready won a Golden Globe for the part and is up for an Os­car for best actor. It’s his sec­ond such Os­car nom­i­na­tion af­ter 2006’s “Half Nel­son,” in which he played a high school teacher with a drug ad­dic­tion.

Fun fact: Gosling found in­spi­ra­tion in the mu­si­cals “Top Hat” star­ring Gin­ger Rogers and Fred As­taire (“I like Fred’s style. He’s very mis­chievous,” he said) and “An Amer­i­can in Paris,” which he called “very ex­per­i­men­tal and yet it doesn’t feel pre­ten­tious.”

2. De­nis Vil­leneuve has ar­rived

Hol­ly­wood is hot for the tal­ents of this French-Cana­dian gem, who is nom­i­nated for best direc­tor for his heady alien-in­va­sion drama “Ar­rival.” It’s his sec­ond Oscars ride af­ter his 2010 drama “In­cendies” was nom­i­nated for best for­eign-lan­guage film. The Que­bec film­maker has had a string of high-pro­file projects i n re­cent years, in­clud­ing “Pris­on­ers,” “En­emy” and “Si­cario.” His next film is a whop­per: the hugely an­tic­i­pated “Blade Run­ner 2049,” star­ring Gosling.

Fun fact: Vil­leneuve has dreamed of do­ing science fic­tion since child­hood, when he read Euro­pean sci-fi comic books. “I was raised with dream­ing about space all my child­hood,” he said. “I’m part of the ‘Star Wars’ gen­er­a­tion.”

3. Ar­rival’s Mon­treal mo­men­tum

Sev­eral other Mon­treal­ers who worked on “Ar­rival” are also up for Oscars. They in­clude sound ed­i­tor Sylvain Belle­mare; pro­duc­tion de­signer Pa­trice Ver­mette and dec­o­ra­tor Paul Hotte; and sound mix­ers Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye.

Fun fact: Belle­mare found in­spi­ra­tion for the sound of the hep­ta­pod aliens in Pink Floyd’s music and a mélange of an­i­mals. “We tried to do some­thing that ... was more based on in­stinct and rhythm,” he said.

4. High hopes for animated shorts

Three of the five ti­tles nom­i­nated in the best animated short cat­e­gory have Cana­dian ties. “Blind Vaysha” is by Mon­treal’s Theodore Ushev and pro­duced by the Na­tional Film Board of Canada. “Pear Cider and Cig­a­rettes,” pro­duced by Cara Speller, is di­rected by Robert Val­ley of Van­cou­ver. And the Pixar-pro- duced “Piper” is helmed by Alan Bar­il­laro of Chip­pawa, Ont.

Fun fact: When Ushev heard of his nom­i­na­tion, he f ainted, over­whelmed by pent-up emo­tions from the cam­paign.

“A lot of peo­ple were telling me, ‘You have a chance, you have a chance,’ and when a lot of peo­ple tell you this you just get ner­vous,” he said. “I had to do a lot of yoga and sports to tame the pres­sure.”

5. First nod for “13th” pro­ducer

Win­nipeg-born pro­ducer Howard Bar­ish has his first Os­car nom­i­na­tion for the doc­u­men­tary “13th,” which looks at the crim­i­nal­iza­tion and mass in­car­cer­a­tion of African Amer­i­cans in the U.S. He shares the nom­i­na­tion with film­maker Ava Du­Ver­nay and her cowriter, Spencer Av­er­ick.

Fun fact: Bar­ish first met Du­Ver­nay a decade ago and also had pro­ducer roles on her 2010 de­but “I Will Fol­low” and her 2012 film “Mid­dle of Nowhere.” Work­ing on her first two films in­spired him to fo­cus on “giv­ing back.”

“My cur­rent projects re­volve around pro­duc­ing small in­de­pen­dent fea­tures which will em­brace emerging tal­ent and first time di­rec­tors,” he said.


An­i­ma­tor Theodore Ushev’s animated short “Blind Vaysha” has been nom­i­nated for an Academy Award.

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