Canada has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, with each of the last three submissions getting a nomination. Telefilm Canada has now announced this year's contender: Gabrielle, by Quebec filmmaker Louise Archambault.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, follows a developmentally disabled woman living in a group home. As the film progresses, Gabrielle falls in love with Martin, a fellow member of her choir, but the two are barred by the rules of her home from exploring their feelings physically.
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film works a bit differently than the other Oscars. Each country is invited to submit a single film to represent it, and then a committee selects a slate of five pictures to be nominated for the prize. The entire Academy then votes on a winner.
"This announcement makes my heart sing," Archambault told CBC News after the announcement. "It's really a nice recognition to represent Canada with my film and I'd like to share this with everyone who inspired me to make this film." The selection was made by a 22-member committee convened by Telefilm representing various government agencies and film industry associations.
Seven Canadian films have been nominated for the award, most recently Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle (War Witch), which lost out to Michael Haneke's Amour last year. The only Canadian film to have won the prize was Denys Arcand's Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), in 2004.