The 92nd Academy Awards is set to air to this Sunday, and this year is particularly light on Canadian nominees.
Last year’s awards featured a laudable nine nominees in four different categories, with four of the nine nominees vying for the Best Animated Short award. Domee Shi, who was born in China and raised in Toronto, ultimately won in the category with her Pixar short Bao, while Paul Massey (who is originally English, but worked in Toronto for over a decade), shared the award for Sound Mixing in Bohemian Rhapsody, beating out Craig Henighan for his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma.
2017 was an even better year for Canadian nominees, where fifteen people were nominated in ten categories. Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin won for Best Production design, and J. Miles Dale won Best Picture, both of which were for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, a film shot entirely in Ontario. Let us not forget that Donald Sutherland also received the Academy Honorary Award in recognition of his many contributions to cinema over six decades.
The number of nominees this year pale in comparison to the previous two: Paul Massey in Best Sound Mixing (Ford v. Ferrari) once again, which is his ninth nomination; Paul Gassner for Best Production Design (1917); Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon for Best Live Action Short Film (Brotherhood); and Dean DeBlois for Best Animated Feature (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World).
This is a noticeably smaller number of nominations than in previous years, with five nominees in four categories, but as the saying goes, it’s an honour just to be nominated. It’s undeniable that the Academy Awards favours U.S. productions, but there has nonetheless been consistent recognition for Canadians working in the film industry both home and abroad over the years, so it is only natural that the number of nominees would be slack every few years.
Admittedly, it is still a little disappointing to see so few Canadians nominated in 2020, but it’s certainly not comparable to the Academy’s ongoing struggles with gender and racial diversity in the major categories.