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TORONTO – The Vanessa Paradis-starrer Cafe de flore, a time-spanning love story by Quebec writer/director Jean-Marc Vallée’, leads the field for the Genies, Canada’s film awards.
Vallée’s return to French-language filmmaking after the Emily Blunt period movie Young Victoria on Tuesday picked up 13 nominations, including best picture and best director.
David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method came away with 11 nominations, including best film, best actor for Michael Fassbender and best supporting actor for Viggo Mortensen.
Thanks to Cronenberg’s European costume drama that pits Carl Jung against Sigmund Freud, Canadians that tune into the Genies this year will recognize stars they know from Hollywood films like Kiera Knightley and Vincent Cassel.
And with a strong Quebec film industry continuing to overshadow the Genies, Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar earned nine nominations, including best film and best director.
Other major contenders for the Genies include Steven Silver’s The Bang Bang Club, set in South Africa, with seven nominations, and Ken Scott’s Starbuck and Larysa Kondracki’s The Whistleblower, each with six nods, including for best picture.
With Canadian producers increasingly going overseas for film financing and audiences to offset reduced government funding, foreign actors feature strongly in the acting categories at this year’s Genies.
Rachel Weisz of The Whistleblower and Café’ de Flore’s Paradis will also compete in the best actress category against Nuit #1’s Catherine de Lean and Pascale Montpetit of The Girl in the White Coat.
The best actor competition will pit Algerian actor Mohamed Fellag of Monsieur Lazhar and American actor Garret Dillahunt of Oliver Sherman against Starbuck’s Patrick Huard, and Scott Speedman, who has the titular role in Edwin Boyd: Citzen Gangster.
Major Canadian films overlooked by Genie juries this year included Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, which earned just two nominations, including a best actress nod for Michelle Williams, and a best make-up nomination for Leslie Ann Sebert and David Beecroft.
And Guy Maddin’s eccentric film Keyhole also had to settle for a best costume nomination for Heather Neale.
The 32nd annual Genies, organized by The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, will be handed out on March 8 in Toronto.
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