Canada's Oscar hopefuls gathered in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles Thursday to be feted by the Canadian Consulate ahead of their appearance at the Academy Awards Sunday night.
It’s an annual Oscar custom that the Canadian consul general in Los Angeles, now David Fransen, invites all Canadian nominees to a lunch to honour their achievements.
Fransen congratulated the Canadians nominated for Oscars and noted the long tradition of Canadian talent in the film business.
"What I really appreciate is that there are people coming to this event who are icons of Canadian filmmaking — I'm talking about Norman Jewison and Robert Lantos," he said. "They don't have to come, but they do."
Most of the 2013 nominees are already in Los Angeles, caught up in a whirl of parties and celebrations that surround the annual awards.
Canadian composer Mychael Danna, nominated for best song and best score for his work on the film Life of Pi, based on Canadian Yann Martel’s book, was wearing his special tiger-shaped cufflinks, a gift from Life of Pi producers, ahead of the awards.
"At this point you want to win almost for the people around you — for the film, the director — we worked so hard on this," he said in an interview with CBC News.
Among the musicians who worked with Danna on the score and original song, titled Pi's Lullaby, were many from India, where part of the film is set.
"The film itself is a global effort. Ang [director Ang Lee] brought together people from over two dozen countries to make this film. And musically we did the same thing — there's musicians from all over the globe. It's really gratifying that it's done so well in all of their own countries," Danna said.
The producers and director of War Witch, the Canadian film about a child soldier in Africa, were at the luncheon to celebrate their nomination for best foreign-language film.
Producers Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin, of Item 7 production company in Montreal, previously produced commercially successful films such as Café de Flore and C.R.A.Z.Y.
Montreal-based Kim Nguyen, who wrote and directed the film, first started to get international attention when War Witch, also known as Rebelle, was accepted into competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, resulting in a Silver Bear win as best actress for young talent Rachel Mwanza.
Since then the film, shot in the Congo with many untried actors, has gathered acclaim on the festival circuit before being chosen as Canada's entry for best foreign-language film.
Others attending Thursday’s event in Los Angeles:
- Yan England, the Quebec actor turned director who is nominated for best short live action film for Henry.
- Ariel Nasr, the Halifax-based producer of short live action film Buzkashi Boys, set in Afghanistan.
- Mino Jarjoura, the Canadian executive producer of Asad, a coming-of-age fable about a Somali boy.
Guillaume Rocheron, a Vancouver-based visual effects supervisor nominated for his work on Life of Pi, was not in attendance.
Jim Erickson, a B.C.-based set director nominated for Lincoln, has recently had health issues and is pondering leaving the film business.