Who can forget when this time last year the cast and crew of Schitt’s Creek, who were still riding high off their unprecedented sweep of the Emmys comedy categories, received an additional five nominations at the Golden Globes, winning two for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for Maureen O’Hara.
Sadly, there are as many Canadian nominees this year as there were wins for Canadians last year, in an awards season that has seen little traction for the talents of the Great White North. Although being something of an early indicator for the Academy Awards, there could yet be hope of an Oscar nomination for one of these Canadian nominees.
Enter Denis Villeneuve, one of the finest directors Canada has ever produced. Villeneuve is arguably the most sought-after science fiction director on the planet (challenged only by another Canadian, James Cameron), and has produced one knockout after another in recent years, such as Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and now the Frank Herbert adaptation Dune, which has earned Villeneuve a great deal of attention on the awards circuit, earning nominations here for Best Director and Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Dune is a spectacle to behold, and the nominations for its technical feats were always going to be a lock. Yet it is also wonderful to see that Villeneuve’s deft artistic hand is being recognised for successfully adapting a novel that some had deemed ‘unadaptable,’ which can partly be blamed on the shadow cast by David Lynch’s failed stab at the novel in his 1984 movie (it should be noted that Lynch blames studio interference, refuses to talk about the movie, and even insists on using the pseudonym ‘Alan Smithee’ in the credits).
With stiff competition against the likes of Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) and Kenneth Brannagh (Belfast, which also won TIFF’s prestigious People’s Choice Award), only time will tell if Villeneuve can come away with an award for either of his nominations. Regardless, this is surely an indicator that the director could land his third and fourth Oscar nominations – and possibly his fifth, if Dune can earn a further nomination for Best Screenplay, which could be the case given how impressive his adaptation is – but the stars are certainly aligning for this behemoth of modern science fiction cinema.
Meanwhile, another Canadian film legend, Martin Short, has landed a nomination in the Best Performance in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy category for his work in the critically acclaimed comedy murder-mystery series, Only Murders in the Building. While his co-stars Steve Martin (who also co-created the show) and Selina Gomez deserve recognition of their own, Short’s turn as washed-up theatre director Oliver Putnam simply stole the show. I would even argue that, barring any surprises, Short would only have to compete with Jason Sudeikis for his role as Ted Lasso in the hugely successful Apple TV series of the same name, though I will admit that is a tall order given that Ted Lasso has become something of an awards show darling. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, “It’s an honour just to be nominated,” and this could also be an early indicator for the Emmy Awards in 2022.
Best of luck to both Denis Villeneuve and Martin Short at the Golden Globes, which is set to air on January 9th.
Denis Villeneuve – Dune
Martin Short – Only Murders in the Building