Rachel Weisz has been nominated for a Genie Award for best actress for her role in The Whistleblower.
The star-studded list of this year's Genie Award nominees includes Michelle Williams, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Rachel Weisz."When we look at the nominees today and see so many of the great actors of the world working on Canadian films, that is a great success story," said Martin Katz, the Toronto-based producer of David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method.
The acclaimed film, which looks at the early years of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, received 11 nominations Tuesday morning. However, it faces stiff competition for the prize of best picture - Jean-Marc Vallée's Café de Flore garnered the most nominations, with 13 nods. The Quebec writer- director's romantic drama stars Vanessa Paradis as a single mother raising a boy with Down syndrome.
Rounding out the best picture contenders are Ken Scott's comedy about artificial insemination, Starbuck, Larysa Kondracki's tense thriller about sex trafficking, The Whistleblower; and Philippe Falardeau's touching school drama, Monsieur Lazhar. (The latter is Canada's Oscar entry for best-foreign language film; it netted seven Genie nominations.)
"There is huge respect for our Canadian creators, which attracts the talent," Helga Stephenson, interim CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, said Tuesday following the announcement in Toronto. "2011 was a vintage year for Canadian films."
Paradis (Café de Flore), Weisz (The Whistleblower) and Williams (Take This Waltz) are competing for the award for best leading actress, along with French-Canadian stars Catherine de Lean in Nuit #1 and Pascale Montpetit in The Girl in the White Coat.
Fassbender and frequent Cronenberg collaborator Mortensen are nominated for best actors in a leading and supporting role for playing Jung and Freud, respectively, in A Dangerous Method.
Six years ago, Katz was developing a script with a U.K. playwright about clinical patient Sabina Spielrein and her relationship with Jung. "David called me one day, and he said, 'I'm working on one, too,'" Katz said. "We wished each other luck."
The film that Katz was working on eventually fell through, but Cronenberg invited the producer to work on his movie. Cronenberg faces Vallée, Falardeau, Kondracki and Steven Silver (The Bang Bang Club) for the best director award.
Meanwhile, in the race for best leading man, Scott Speedman's turn as a war veteran-turned bank robber in Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster pits him against Fassbender and Mohamed Fellag, who plays the title character in Monsieur Lazhar. Patrick Huard, as Starbuck's extremely fertile protagonist, and Garret Dillahunt, as a former soldier in Oliver Sherman, are also vying for the prize.
Speedman's co-star Kevin Durand is up for best performance by an actor in a supporting role against Mortensen, Starbuck's Antoine Bertrand, Café de Flore's Marin Gerrier and The Bang Bang Club's Taylor Kitsch.
"Every single category that this film is nominated in is their victory. They're the alchemists who put everything together," Durand said about Edwin Boyd's producers and director, Nathan Morlando. The film was nominated for best art direction/production design.
"I was so excited by the palate they were choosing, the muted colours," said Charlotte Sullivan, nominated for her supporting role in Edwin Boyd.
Sullivan's competition includes 11-year-old Sophie Nelisse, who played Monsieur Lazhar's precocious student, and Roxana Condurache, who played a trafficked girl in The Whistleblower.
The Genies will be on CBC March 8.