Go Canada, go!

National Film Board leads Canadian trek to Oscars with two nominations
TORONTO (CP) – Canada is Oscar-bound this year, thanks to a pair of short films co-produced by the National Film Board.
Ryan is writer-director Chris Landreth’s innovative use of digital animation to look at the career and tragic decline of Ryan Larkin, a brilliant former NFB animator who ended up a panhandler on the streets of Montreal. Landreth was also nominated in the animated short category in 1996 for The End.
“It is a great honour to be recognized for this film – it was a labour of love for almost four years,” said Landreth. “An Oscar nomination is a wonderful validation – it was an incredible experience the first time and I look forward to returning.”
Ryan has already won more than 30 international awards, from Cannes to Canada.
Hardwood, written and directed by Hubert Davis, was nominated in the documentary short category. Making his directorial debut, Davis, son of former Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis, uses interviews, archival and home movies to explore his father’s relationship with his family.
“A nomination for my first film – amazing,” said Davis. “It is very gratifying to turn the camera onto my family, tell our Canadian story and then have it received so well.”
The film board views the nominations as a special 65th anniversary gift, having won the first of 10 Oscars back in 1941 for Churchill’s Island.
“All of Canada is going to the Oscars,” boasted Jacques Bensimon, government film commissioner and NFB chairman, in a statement released only moments after the nominations were announced.
“The National Film Board is Canada’s public film producer and we’re proud to share our 66th and 67th Academy Award nominations with each and every Canadian.”
Other Canadian connections to Oscar in 2005 include the Robert Lantos-produced Being Julia, for which Annette Bening nabbed a best actress nod. Also, Paul Haggis of London, Ont., made it into the best adapted screenplay category for his script for Million Dollar Baby.
And Canadian actress Sandra Oh has a role in Sideways, which was nominated for best picture. Her husband, Alexander Payne, is nominated for best director and best adapted screenplay for the film.