Quebec director gets two Oscar nods
TORONTO — Quebec director Denys Arcand has two Academy Award nominations for The Barbarian Invasions.
As expected his sub-titled film made the cut Tuesday in the best foreign-film category when the contenders for the 76th annual Oscar race were announced in Los Angeles. The surprise, even for Arcand however, was his inclusion in the best original screenplay competition.
“It’s not something that happens very often, that you cross over into the general categories if you’re a foreign filmmaker,” he said from Los Angeles.
“Exceptional people have done it but it doesn’t happen every day.”
This makes Arcand’s third foreign-film nomination. The Decline of the American Empire, his 1986 predecessor to Barbarian Invasions, was named as was 1989’s Jesus of Montreal.
“Who knows?” Arcand replied when asked if this might mean three times lucky.
“This is so unpredictable.”
Atom Egoyan earned two nominations for the 1997 Academy Awards, best directing and best screenplay for The Sweet Hereafter.
Barbarian Invasions looks at an aging, cranky Montreal intellectual (Remy Girard) who is dying of cancer and whose friends and family gather around for an emotional but joyous sendoff. Arcand also won a best screenplay prize at last spring’s Cannes film festival while Marie-Jozee Croze won for best actress for her performance as a sympathetic junkie.
Arcand said he was feeling truly happy Tuesday morning.
“It’s wonderful also for Canada. . .it gives recognition in your own country which is maybe the most important thing. Because you know Canadians always have their eyes turned towards Hollywood, so when you make it there, it gives you a certain aura in your own country which we need, we Canadian filmmakers.”
Barbarian Invasions was also named best Canadian feature at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. But on Sunday night, it lost to Osama, an Afghan film, in the Golden Globes foreign film category. Arcand said he was surprised that Osama, which was also at Cannes, didn’t make the Oscar cut. He said he hasn’t seen any of the foreign films against which he’s competing for the Oscar, Evil (Sweden), The Twilight Samurai (Japan), Twin Sisters (The Netherlands) and Zelary (Czech Republic).
“I’ve heard vaguely of these films but I’ve never seen them in any festival this year, and so they are really all coming in from left field. So I have no idea.”
Arcand said he’s not sure what the nominations mean for his film because it is near the end of its theatrical run. “It’s the last kick down so to speak. It gives you a little boost at the end.”
Arcand said the foreign film nominations are selected by a committee of some 60 Academy members. The winner is voted on by any eligible member who can prove he has seen all five contenders. He said that although he doesn’t have the final word on the matter, there will be no dubbed version.
He said that when he goes to the Oscars next month, accompanied by his wife and producer, he plans to wear the same tuxedo he bought 19 years ago.
“It’s always the same. It’s perfect.”
Awards that Deny Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions has won or been nominated for to date:
— Marie Josee Croze, Best actress, Cannes.
–Best screenplay, Cannes.
–City Award for best Canadian feature film, Toronto International Film Festival.
–AGF People’s Choice Award, Calgary Film Festival.
–Best non-European film nomination, European Film Academy.
–Best foreign film , The National Board of Review.
–One of top 10 films 2003 (6), New York Film Critics Online Awards.
–Canada’s top 10 2003, Toronto International Film Festival.
–Best foreign language film, 2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association.
–Best screenplay (tie), Toronto Film Critics Association.
–Best foreign language film nomination, Golden Globes (didn’t win), Academy Awards.
–Original screenplay nomination — Denys Arcand, British Academy BAFTA, Academy Awards.
Quebec director gets two Oscar nods