Canada taps Monsieur Lazhar for Oscar race
Monsieur Lazhar, the latest movie from noted Quebec filmmaker Philippe Falardeau, is Canada's pick to compete at the upcoming Academy Awards.
The French-language drama about a talented elementary school teacher with a dark background is now Canada's official submission for consideration in the best foreign language film category at the Oscars, which take place Feb. 26, 2012.
"It's a proud moment when your movie is chosen to represent Canada from among all the high-quality productions that were in the running for this honour," Falardeau said in a statement.
Film funding agency Telefilm Canada announced the choice on Wednesday, just days after the drama won best Canadian feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival, which also screened his earlier films La Moitié gauche du frigo, Congorama, C'est pas moi, je le jure!
Adapted from a play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, Monsieur Lazhar had won earlier kudos at Switzerland's Locarno International Film Festival in August. It earned the Variety Piazza Grande Award as well as the UBS Audience Award.
"Philippe Falardeau has enthralled audiences and critics alike with an outstandingly crafted film that deals with touching themes. Being in the Oscar race is a well-deserved honour for Monsieur Lazhar," said Telefilm executive director Carolle Brabant.
Monsieur Lazhar was produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, who also produced Canada's 2010 Oscar pick: Denis Villeneuve's intense drama Incendies.
More than 60 countries around the globe are deciding their foreign-language submissions for the Oscars, with the final nominees for the prestigious honour to be announced Jan. 24.