Three Montrealers nominated for Academy Awards
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:15AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 11, 2013 8:10AM EST
Three Montrealers are in the running for Oscar.
In what is becoming an annual tradition, films made in Quebec are once again up for recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Kim Nguyen's 'Rebelle' (English name: War Witch) is one of five nominees for best foreign language film, while two films with Montreal links, Yan England's 'Henry' and the film 'Buzkashi Boys,' produced by Montreal's Ariel Nasr, are in the running for best short film.
In the short film category Montrealers are facing off with two of the five nominations.
'Henry' describes the turmoil an elderly pianist goes through when his wife disappears.
Montreal radio morning man and actor England (he appears in the shows Yamaska and Trauma) wrote the film based on a conversation with his grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer's,
When his grandfather was in his 90s he asked his family if he had been a good man, and that prompted England to write the story.
England, who found out late last year that his movie had made the short list, has been elated for the past month.
"If I hadn't been nominated, honestly it was such a thrill to be dreaming about this for about a month or so, to be thinking 'well there is a possibility,'" said England.
The former child actor has, like many people, dreamed of being nominated for an Academy award since he was a child.
"Quite honestly, I've been watching the Academy awards since I was five years old," said England.
The other Canadian short film nominee, 'Buzkashi Boys,' is the story of young boys in Afghanistan who want to win a fiercely competitve polo match -- where a traditional goat carcass is used instead of a ball.
Nasr is one of the producers of this movie with international ties, much like Nasr himself. He was born in Halifax, lives in Montreal now, and brought Canadian and American crews to Afghanistan to film the movie.
The Afghan-Canadian has made a career of making movies that portray life in Afghanistan that show much more than the war and fighting that have marked the country for decades.
"There's so much talent in the Afghan film industry and there's so many stories that need to be told there," said Nasr.
"What we wanted to do was tell a story that went beyond those headlines and really looked at the lives of people."
'Rebelle,' the story of child soldiers fighting in Somalia, is the third Quebec-based film in three years to be nominated for a foreign-language Academy Award.
Last year Monsieur Lazhar by Philippe Falardeau was nominated, and in 2011 Denis Villeneuve's Incendies competed for the prize, although neither film won.
Nguyen wrote 'Rebelle' over the span of ten years after reading an article about Johnny and Luther Htoo, twin nine-year-olds who led guerilla forces in Burma before being captured by Thai soldiers in 2001.
Meanwhile, Canadian composer Mychael Danna is up for an Academy Award for best song.
The Toronto-based musician earned a nomination for the song "Pi's Lullaby," from the eye-popping fable "Life of Pi."
The Academy Awards will be handed out Feb. 24.