Canadians at the Oscars 2022
A big story that nobody seems to have picked up on is that three of the ten films that have been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar are Canadian co-productions: the long-time favourite, The Power of the Dog, the film that will probably win the most Oscars, Dune, and a real outsider, Nightmare Alley. At the Critics’ Choice Awards, where director Jane Campion made a huge gaff in claiming that the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena), who were in attendance, didn’t have to compete with tennis-playing men like she did with her fellow male film directors, invited Roger Frappier to speak in collecting the Best Picture award. As one of the Oscar-nominated co-producers, he talked about buying the rights to the source novel for The Power of the Dog a long time ago. The Canadian co-production company is Max Films of Montreal. Director Denis Villeneuve is one of the nominated producers of Dune, and his own company, Villeneuve Productions is the Canadian co-producer. Nightmare Alley is the most Canadian of the three films, being co-produced by Ontario Creates and filmed mostly in Toronto studios and on-location in Hamilton, Ontario. (The only U.S. filming was in Buffalo, New York.) Director Guillermo Del Toro loves filming in Canada, especially because he made his previous feature film there, The Shape of Water, which won him the Best Picture Oscar, shared with his Canadian co-producer, J. Miles Dale, who is nominated along with him this year. The Shape of Water also won Best Production Design for three Canadians, including Shane Vieau, who is nominated this year for his work on Nightmare Alley along with Tamara Deverell, another Canadian. A further four Canadians had received Oscar nominations for The Shape of Water, including costume designer, Luis Sequeira, who is nominated again for Nightmare Alley. A number of Canadians have received Oscar nominations this year for their work on Dune, including Villeneuve for Adapted Screenplay (shared), Patrice Vermette for Production Design (shared), Donald Mowat for Hairstyling and Make-Up (shared with two others), and Tristan Myles and Brian Connor for Visual Effects (also shared with two others). Dune is favoured to win both the Production Design and the Visual Effects Oscars, while The Power of the Dog is still the odds-on betting choice to win Best Picture, although since the Critics’ Choice Awards, when Oscar voting began, CODA is rapidly closing, especially after surprisingly winning the Producers Guild Award (PGA) for Best Picture, which almost always goes on to win the Oscar (although it didn’t in three of the last six years). One of the reasons why CODA has such a good chance is that, like the PGA awards, the Oscars are decided by preferential ballots. That is, whereas The Power of the Dog is likely to score many 1st or 2nd choices, it might also get a lot of 8th, 9th or 10th ballot positions. On the other hand, CODA is not expected to be #1 or #2 on many voters ballots, but it won’t be actively disliked either. It would be great for a Canadian co-produced film to win the Oscar, and for Frappier to get his well-earned award, but it might not happen on Sunday.