Montreal filmmaker Philippe Falardeau never dreamt he would find himself in Los Angeles, nominated for an Academy Award for his school-set drama Monsieur Lazhar.

Based on a play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, the movie follows an Algerian immigrant and teacher who helps a class of Quebec students mourn and recover from a horrible tragedy. In turn, they help him grieve his own heartbreaking past.

A political analyst-turned-filmmaker, Falardeau attributes his movie career to a happy series of accidents, the first being his decision to enter a short film contest in the early 1990s.   

"I realized that I had found another way of expressing myself that could be a way for the future, and I also found out that I liked it," he told CBC News.

After making film festival favourites such as Congorama and It's Not Me, I Swear, Falardeau has established a reputation for intelligent, political, touching dramas.

Another happy accident occurred when he went to see his friend de la Chenelière’s Bashir Lazhar and was moved to adapt the one-man play for film.

This journey has landed him in the international spotlight. CBC's Eli Glasner reports live from Los Angeles, as best foreign-language film nominee Falardeau prepares for his walk on the Oscars red carpet.