10 Oscar categories with Canadian contenders

The 88th Academy Award nominations included very good news for a dozen Canadians, as well as two best picture nods for Canadian co-productions.

A dozen Canucks received nominations

Actress Rachel McAdams attends The Independent Filmmaker Project's 25th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York on Nov. 30, 2015. Rachel McAdams has been nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Spotlight.'' THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Invision, Evan Agostini (Evan Agostini/Associated Press)

The 88th Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and that was good news for a dozen Canadians across ten different categories.

Best Picture

Exactly half of the eight films nominated for best picture this year were at least partially shot on Canadian soil, with Brooklyn (Old Montreal standing in for 1950s Brooklyn), The Revenant (Alberta playing Montana and South Dakota circa 1823), Room (Toronto as an unspecified American city) and Spotlight (Toronto and Hamilton doing their best Boston) all in the mix for the Academy's biggest prize.

While that's an exceptional percentage, it's comparable to ten years ago when the Canadian-shot Brokeback Mountain and Capote made up 40 per cent of the best picture nominees (and lost to Crash, which was oddly enough directed by London, Ont.-born Paul Haggis). But none of those films — despite Canadian talent being involved — were actually Canadian productions. Brooklyn and Room, however, are (in both cases co-productions with Ireland). Today they became only the second and third Canadian films, even if neither is actually set here. Their sole predecessor? 1980's Canada-France co-production Atlantic City. As the title suggests, that film wasn't exactly full of Canada playing itself either. But we'll take what we can get.

Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay

Speaking of London, Ont. — what a big day for that town. Rachel McAdams finally can call herself an Oscar nominee for her performance as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sacha Pfeiffer in Spotlight, while Emma Donoghue's adaptation of her own book Room also nabbed a nod. Though Donoghue was born in Ireland, she moved to Canada in 1998 and has since become a Canadian citizen, residing with her partner and two children in London, the same city where McAdams was born. 

Recording artist the Weeknd performs at the 2015 Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, N.Y., on Aug. 22, 2015. Toronto-native the Weeknd also had his song "Earned It,'' from the film "Fifty Shades of Grey,'' nominated for the best original song Oscar. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Scott Roth/Invision/AP (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Best Original Song

Toronto's Abel Tesfaye — aka The Weeknd — and his St. Catharines-born collaborator Stephan Moccio helped make Fifty Shades of Grey an unlikely Oscar nominee thanks to their best original song nomination for "Earned It." 

Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects

A quintet of very talented Canucks got nominated for their behind-the-scenes efforts on The Martian and The Revenant, respectively: Chris Duesterdiek (sound mixing, The Revenant), Hamish Purdy (production design, The Revenant), Paul Masssey (sound mixing, The Martian), Robert Pandini (makeup and hairstyling, The Revenant) and Cameron Waldbauer (visual effects, The Revenant)

Best Animated Short and Best Documentary Short Subject

Historically, Canadians have tended to do very well in the short film categories, and this year was no exception. In the animated category, Richard Williams was nominated for his short Prologue (along with co-director Imogen Sutton), while on the documentary side Adam Benzine's Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness were both in the mix.


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