‘Necessities of Life’ tops Genie noms
OTTAWA – There’s a common theme in this week’s roster of Genie Award nominees for best motion picture: average people struggling to cope after their worlds are turned upside-down.
An Inuit hunter is stranded in the alien confines of a Quebec hospital in “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre.”) A teenager’s life is thrown into chaos when four of his friends commit suicide in “Everything is Fine” (“Tout est parfait.”)
A battered First World War soldier returns home to Alberta in “Passchendaele.”
Families pick up the pieces after a car accident in “Normal.”
And a young rickshaw driver inherits a fortune – and a heap of trouble – in “Amal.”
Canadian film gets its share of ribbing for being intense with sometimes difficult subjects, and this year’s group is no exception.
The nominees for Canada’s top film awards were announced Tuesday by veteran actor Gordon Pinsent and Quebec entertainer Caroline Neron.
“The Necessities of Life” grabbed the most nominations with eight, including best picture, best director and best screenplay.
It was a semi-finalist for a nomination in the run-up to the Oscar nominations, and has been a favourite on the film festival circuit. The movie follows the story of Tivii, pulled out of despondency by a young orphan who helps him bridge two cultures.
“Everything is Fine,” another Quebec film, received seven nominations. In the film, Josh is left behind when his circle of friends carries out a suicide pact.
The other top Canadian films up for multiple awards include the war epic “Passchendaele,” “Fugitive Pieces,” “Amal,” and Quebec filmmaker Lea Pool’s “Mommy is at the Hairdresser’s” (“Maman est chez le coiffeur”), each film with six nominations.
Sara Morton, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, said there’s something quintessentially Canadian about the collection of films this year.
“I think the thing I would comment on is the sheer diversity of the films.
“‘Ce qu’il faut pour vivre’ is about somebody who comes down from the North into Quebec, and that’s partly in Inukitut. You’ve got strong films in French and in English, we’ve got films from across the country, so really it’s a very diverse crowd this year and I’m very pleased with that.
“I think that represents Canadian cinema very well at the Genies.”
Some international names got nods, including Max Von Sydow and Susan Sarandon for the movie “Emotional Arithmetic,” and Ellen Burstyn in “Stone Angel.”
The nominations were announced against the backdrop of antique planes at the Canada Aviation Museum, also the location of the 29th Genie Awards ceremony on April 4. It will be the first time the ceremony is being held outside of Toronto or Montreal.
Organizers plan to promote a “Genies Week” around the awards to engage locals – and perhaps a politician or two.
Last year, the Conservative government axed two programs that directly helped up-and-coming filmmakers. Budgets at Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board have been tight.
“Obviously we view being in the nation’s capital as a very positive step we can take to make sure Canadian decision-makers and all Canadians become aware of the great talent we have and that it is necessary to nurture it,” said Morton.
Some top Genie Awards nominees:
Best motion picture: “Amal,” “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre”), “Norma,” “Passchendaele,” “Everything Is Fine” (“Tout est parfait”).
Original screenplay: Bernard Emond, “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre”); Deepa Mehta, “Heaven on Earth”; Travis McDonald, “Normal”; Randall Cole, “Real Time”; Guillaume Vigneault, “Everything Is Fine” (“Tout est parfait”).
Achievement in direction: Richie Mehta, “Amal”; Lyne Charlebois, “Borderline”; Benoit Pilon, “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre”); Carl Bessai, “Normal”; Yves-Christian Fournier, “Everything Is Fine” (“Tout est parfait”).
Performance by an actor in a leading role: Paul Gross, “Passchendaele”; Rupinder Nagra, “Amal”; Christopher Plummer, “Emotional Arithmetic”; Aaron Poole, “This Beautiful City”; Natar Ungalaaq, “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre”).
Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Normand D’Amour, “Everything Is Fine” (“Tout est parfait”); Benoit McGinnis, “Le Banquet”; Callum Keith Rennie, “Normal”; Rade Sherbedgia, “Fugitive Pieces”; Max Von Sydow, “Emotional Arithmetic.”
Performance by an actress in a leading role: Isabelle Blais, “Borderline”; Ellen Burstyn, “Stone Angel”; Marianne Fortier, “Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s” (“Maman est chez le coiffeur”); Susan Sarandon, “Emotional Arithmetic”; Preity Zinta, “Heaven on Earth.”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Celine Bonnier, “Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s” (“Maman est chez le coiffeur”); Kristin Booth, “Young People F**king”; Eveline Gelinas, “The Necessities of Life” (“Ce qu’il faut pour vivre”); Anie Pascale, “Everything Is fine” (“Tout est parfait”); Rosamund Pike, “Fugitive Pieces.”
‘Necessities of Life’ tops Genie noms