A French accent for Genies

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Quebec films dominated nearly all the major categories as nominations for the Genies, Canada's top film honors, were unveiled Tuesday.

In the best picture competition, the Ivan Reitman-produced "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie" was the lone English-language Canadian entry. It will face off against four Quebecois films: Erik Canuel's "Bon Cop, Bad Cop," Charles Biname's "Maurice Richard/The Rocket," Jean-Francois Pouliot's "Guide de la petite vengeance" and Robert Favreau's "Un dimanche a kigali."

The same quartet of French-language filmmakers surfaced again in the best director category, an all-Quebecois affair rounded out by "La vie secrete des Gens Heureux" helmer Stephane Lapointe.

"Maurice Richard," a French-language drama about the legendary hockey player, led the Genies field with 13 nominations, followed by bilingual buddy comedy "Bon Cop" with 10.

Terry Gilliam's "Tideland," a British-Canadian co-production, grabbed five craft nominations and a best actress mention for Jodelle Ferland, while Julia Kwan's "Eve and the Fire Horse" earned a best supporting actress nomination for Vivian Wu and a best supporting actor nom for Lester Chit-Man Chan.

Otherwise, English-language Canadian movies, which garner a paltry 1% of cinema screen time nationwide, look set to play second fiddle to their French-language counterparts at the 27th annual Genie Awards, set for next month.

Quebec films similarly overshadow the acting categories, with Colm Feore ("Bon Cop") going up against Roy Dupuis ("Maurice Richard"), Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet ("Congorama"), Patrick Huard ("Bon Cop") and Luc Picard ("Kigali") in the best actor competition.

In the best actress category, Sigourney Weaver is nominated for her role in "Snow Cake" and will challenge Julie LeBreton ("Maurice Richard"), Fatou N'Diaye ("Kigali"), veteran Quebec star Ginette Reno ("Le Secret de ma mere") and Jodelle Ferland ("Tideland").

The Genie nominations, which came on the second day of Canada's actors strike, were announced at a Toronto press conference with no nominated directors or actors on hand for the assembled media.

Paul Gratton, chairman of Genies organizer the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, said he did not expect a production disruption when the awards are handed out Feb. 13 in Toronto because the nationwide telecast is governed by separate union collective agreements. Gratton did express fear, however, that a prolonged strike by ACTRA, which represents about 21,000 domestic performers, could lead to far fewer homegrown movies for the Genies to showcase and celebrate next year.

"That the strike could still be going (in February) would be a horrifying possibility," he said.

An ACTRA spokesman said the actors guild had no plans to picket the awards ceremony.

A full list of noms can be found at www.hollywoodreporter.com.
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