February 22, 2015 - 9:47 AM
TORONTO - Canuck movie fans have plenty of homegrown talent to root for when the Academy Awards are handed out Sunday, Feb. 22.
Nominees from the Great White North can be found in categories including best sound mixing and animated short, but most notably in the race for best animated feature, where three of the five contenders are Canadian.
Here's a look at the nominees:
Who: Graham Annable, best animated feature, "The Boxtrolls"
What: This Sheridan College grad from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., earns a nod for his directorial debut on an intricate stop-motion film from the Portland, Ore., studio, Laika. He shares the honour with co-director Anthony Stacchi and Laika boss Travis Knight.
Background: Annable's resume includes more than a decade making video games for LucasArts as well as creating the "Grickle" comics for Alternative Comics. He was handed the reins on "The Boxtrolls" after storyboarding Laika's 2009 film "Coraline" and 2012's "ParaNorman."
Quote: "Stop motion is so tactile and there's so much texture to it ... it's such a rich-looking form of animation. You can feel the light on all the objects, you can feel the density of everything.... I just feel really fortunate to be allowed to be a part of the whole process."
Who: Dean DeBlois, best animated feature, "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
What: DeBlois wrote and directed this sequel to the boy-and-his-dragon tale for DreamWorks Animation and shares the nomination with producer Bonnie Arnold.
Background: DeBlois heads into the race having already collected a Golden Globe and a prestigious Annie Award for directing. The Aylmer, Que.-bred animator was also nominated for the first "Dragon" film in 2011.
Quote: "I'm very proud of the film and super proud of the crew and I think we're all certainly crossing our fingers. But you never know, because every one of the films has its own merits and in a very particular way."
Who: Chris Williams, best animated feature, "Big Hero 6"
What: This U.S.-Canadian citizen was born in Columbia, Mo., to Canadian parents but moved to Kitchener, Ont., as an infant. He's nominated along with co-director Don Hall and producer Roy Conli.
Background: Williams returned to the States roughly 20 years ago, when he was recruited from Oakville, Ont.'s Sheridan College to work for Disney. He applied his drawing talents to films including "The Lion King" and "Mulan," and became fast friends with DeBlois, who was working for Disney at the time. This is his second Oscar nomination, after earning a nom for his directorial debut on the 2008 film "Bolt."
Quote: "We're always trying to make films that feel like timeless Disney films that can sit on a shelf long after we're gone. And at the same time, we do want to surprise people with what we create and give people something original and hopefully redefine at the same time what a Disney film can be."
Who: Torill Kove, best animated short film, "Me and My Moulton"
What: Kove's film, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, centres on three sisters who ask their parents for a bicycle. Background: Norway-born, Montreal-raised Kove won the Oscar in the same category in 2007 for "The Danish Poet" and was nominated for her animated short "My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts" in 2000.
Quote: "In a way, it's a memoir basically of a period in my life when I was young and my parents were young."
Who: Craig Mann, best sound mixing, "Whiplash"
What: This Oakville-born sound mixer could drum up hardware for his work on the intense film about an ambitious young musician and the demanding teacher who pushes him to his limit. Mann and co-nominees Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley face off against teams from "American Sniper," "Birdman," "Intersteller," and "Unbroken."
Background: Now L.A.-based, Mann spent years assisting the industry's top sound mixers in Canada and the United States before deciding to become a mixer himself.
Quote: "What seems to be the theme across the board is people love 'Whiplash.' They love the film, they are very complimentary about how it sounds ... but what the chances are, it's really hard to say. I'd love it to (win), it would be amazing, but I feel like with the nomination we've already won. Just to get the acknowledgment from the community, it's really something."
Who: Cameron Waldbauer, Best Visual Effects, "X-Men: Days of Future Past"
What: As the special effects supervisor, Waldbauer was in charge of all "the physical stuff" that happens on set — anything that explodes, flips over or moves, such as when Magneto manipulates metal objects. He shares the nomination with Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora and Tim Crosbie. The British-based Stammers worked closely with artists from MPC Montreal, which cranked out 372 shots for the film.
Background: The 40-year-old studied mechanical design at the British Columbia Institute of Technology but says most of his skills were gathered on-the-job. Born in New Westminster, B.C., and now living in nearby Pitt Meadows, Waldbauer has his hands full with three projects: as a consultant on the new "X-Men" film shooting in Montreal and the Leonardo DiCaprio film "The Revenant" in Calgary, and as an effects supervisor on the new "Star Trek" film in Vancouver.
Quote: "Just being nominated is amazing. Winning would be icing on the cake but a nomination is really what you strive for. Only one person wins every year but if you make that (nomination) list it's pretty amazing."
Honourable mention: Joshua Bartholomew and Lisa Harriton, best original song, "Everything is Awesome" from "The Lego Movie."
What: Although Canadian-reared songwriter Bartholomew and his wife Lisa Rae Harriton contributed heavily to the tune, the Oscar nomination officially goes to Shawn Patterson, who crafted the first draft.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015