Hamilton's mayor says it's a boon to the city's film industry that Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is nominated for more than a dozen Academy Awards.
Fred Eisenberger says he's pleased to see that del Toro's film, shot in part in Hamilton, is up for 13 Oscars on March 4. That's one short of the Oscar record.
Del Toro tweeted praise for the city when he shot here in 2016, talking up Hamilton's book stores and restaurants. The production also brought economic spin off, including booking 600 hotel rooms for cast and crew.
The city is still in talks with del Toro's staff about setting up a film studio here, Eisenberger said.
"I'm rooting for him to continue filming in Hamilton, for sure," Eisenberger said.
"If he meets with (Oscar) success, all the better for him and all the better for Hamilton."
In The Shape of Water, Sally Hawkins stars as a mute janitor at a U.S. government laboratory where officials are holding a merman. It was filmed largely in Hamilton and Toronto.
"I know there's a Seedy side of Hamilton- but you can feel a transformation from the last 5-6 years," del Toro tweeted in 2016, calling the city "full of promise and surprises." He later told the Toronto International Film Festival that he wanted to set up a studio here.
That led to ongoing talks between del Toro and city staff, which are still happening, Eisenberger said.
Whether del Toro sets up a studio here or not, the mayor said, the city is having several such conversations.
"Certainly, it's an industry that's got growth potential written all over it for Hamilton."
In 2015, 96 productions filmed in Hamilton. In 2016, there were 104.
Numbers for the first three quarters of 2017 were comparable. As of Sept. 30 that year, 87 productions had registered, including 10 feature films.
Scott Henderson, a Brock University film expert, says The Shape of Water's nominations are "a reminder of the excellent industry that exists up there."
Henderson isn't banking on it winning best picture though. In the crowded nine-movie category, he thinks Call Me By Your Name has a shot at pulling off an upset.
Still, "I've never been a fan of the expanded Best Picture category," he said. "I liked it when it was five films."
Here are a few other Hamilton-area award season connections, past and present:
Norfolk County is part of Oscar season this year. The Breadwinner, based on the novel by author Deborah Ellis, is nominated for best animated film. The Canadian co-production was executive produced by Angelina Jolie.
Spotlight won best picture and best original screenplay in 2016, and part of it was filmed in Hamilton. It also brought supporting actor nods for Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, a best director nomination for Tom McCarthy and a nomination for film editing.
Originally from Ohsweken, Greene spent some of his youth in Hamilton too. In 1991, he was nominated for best supporting actor for Dances With Wolves. And while he wasn't nominated this year, 2017 brought Greene plenty of critical acclaim with turns in Wind River and Molly's Game.
Greene remains one of the most prolific and celebrated Indigenous actors working right now. His Internet Movie Database profile lists 150 acting credits, including eight films in various stages of post-production. He was also in The Green Mile, which saw plenty of Oscar action in 2000.
The Handmaid's Tale
It's a TV show, so it doesn't qualify for the Oscars, but The Handmaid's Tale did take home two Golden Globes this year. That includes best dramatic series, and a best female actor in a series award for Elisabeth Moss. Parts of the first season, and the forthcoming second season, were filmed in Hamilton. The series is based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name.
Parts of 2005's Cinderella Man were filmed in Hamilton. It was nominated for three Oscars — supporting actor (Paul Giamatti), film editing and makeup.
Away From Her
Sarah Polley directed the 2006 film Away From Her based on Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain." Polley was nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, and Julie Christie for best actress.