Canadian presence shines during this year’s Oscars
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 8:26AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 12:03PM EST
Canada was a big player at last night’s Academy Awards as the country earned a high-profile shout-out while a number of Canucks went home with awards.
Ben Affleck gave a nod to Canada in his speech accepting the Best Picture award for Argo, an adaptation of the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Islamic militants and the six American diplomats who escaped and sought refuge in the Canadian Embassy.
Affleck had come under fire from many Canadians, including former Ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor, for downplaying Canada's part in assisting the U.S. diplomats.
Most recently, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter weighed in on the film, noting that 90 per cent of the plan to get the American diplomats out of Iran was orchestrated by the Canadians.
During an interview with CNN, Carter praised Taylor of his role in resolving the hostage crisis.
When it came time to give his thank-yous in the final Oscar presentation Sunday night, however, Affleck made it clear: "I want to thank Canada."
Taylor said Monday that shout-out during Affleck’s acceptance speech was a “tribute” to the men and women that serve their countries abroad.
“Given the excitement of the moment and that everything was unscripted, I think that the message was clear,” Taylor told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday. “Particularly set against president Carter’s remarks…which helped clarify the balance.”
Following Argo’s debut at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Taylor has been vocal about the fact that Canadians played a much bigger role in the hostage crisis than what was portrayed in the film.
The morning after Hollywood’s biggest night, he said the effort paid off.
But the ‘thank you’ wasn't necessarily Canada's biggest Oscars triumph, as Canucks won four awards this year.
Canadian composer Mychael Danna, of Toronto, took home the award for best original score for the big- screen adaptation of Canadian author Yan Martel's Life of Pi.
"I share this wondrous award with our visionary captain Mr. Ang Lee.... who guided a truly global cast and crew in the telling of this wondrous, beautiful story that transcends culture and race and religion," Danna said after taking the statue from presenter Richard Gere.
Another Canadian, Vancouver-based Guillaume Rocheron, won for best visual effects on the same movie.
Set decorator Jim Erickson, who is also based in B.C., won best production design for his work on the Steven Spielberg biopic ‘Lincoln.’
He told The Canadian Press that the win will mark his retirement from the film business.
"I had such a great career and after 'Lincoln' I just said, 'There's just not much else that I can think of that I want to do,"' Erickson said.
"There's a nice broad spectrum of films (on my resume) and I've had a really wonderful career. So why not go out on a high point instead of dribbling out toward the end?"
Prior to last night’s show, two Canadian software developers were among a four-member team that were honoured during the Oscar’s Sci-Tech awards on Feb. 9.
London, Ont. native Doug James and Vancouver-based Nils Thuerey picked up an award for their Wavelet Turbulence software, a tool that makes it easier for visual effects artists to control the appearance of gas and smoke on film.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper even weighed in on Canada’s Oscar success, nothing the government’s support of Canadian filmmaking.
"We are very proud that Canadians in the film industry continue to shine on the world stage receiving regular critical acclaim,” Harper said in a statement released Monday.
There was disappointment too, as the Canadian contender for best foreign-language film 'Rebelle (War Witch)' was beaten by Austrian Michael Haneke's Amour.
Yan England's ‘Henry,’ Mino Jarjoura's 'Asad' and Ariel Nasr's ‘Buzhkashi Boys’ also all came away without the coveted Oscar trophy in the best live-action short category.
Canada's presence had also been felt as the 85th annual Academy Awards kicked off, as Montreal-born actor William Shatner was beamed into L.A.’s Dolby Theatre, helping Oscar host Seth MacFarlene with his opening monologue.
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