As the 2024 Academy Awards grows ever closer, and we are well into awards season, the race for the coveted statue grows increasingly narrow, and there are a number of notable Canadian hopefuls for this year’s ceremony. Here is my list of potential Canadian Oscar nominees:
Having made such a strong impression on the festival circuit early this year, Celine Song’s filmmaking debut Past Lives has very likely beaten the recency bias that historically has affected other potential Oscar nominees.
Originally from South Korea, Song moved to Canada with her family at a young age, which is reflected in her film’s story as Song herself has admittedly to its semi-autobiographical nature. Song’s work on Past Lives is so strong that she is a strong contender Best Director and Best Original Screenplay nominations, and some would argue she’s one of the favourites to win the latter, especially if Barbie is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay instead. Furthermore, Past Lives could be in the running for nominations for actors Greta Lee and John Magaro, as well as a potential nod for its editing by Keith Fraase.
One of Canada’s two Ryans, Gosling has earned consistent praise for his performances over the years, whether he was striving to one day be a leading man in Remember the Titans, earning his first Oscar nomination in 2006’s Half Nelson, dancing his way to his second nomination in the 2016 hit La La Land, or playing a replicant with a big heart in the long-awaited sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2047.
The actor is poised to continue this recognition with his potential third nomination for his performance Ken in Barbie, which has become a cultural force in and of itself. The question is not so much if he will be nominated – as he is as close to a lock as anyone this year – but rather if he can beat out Robert Downey Jr. for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Willem Dafoe is also a dark horse who could pull the rug from under both actors for his performance in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things.
As it happens, Rachel McAdams starred alongside Ryan Gosling in cult classic The Notebook, which was pivotal in launching both their careers. It also helped that Mean Girls released that same year, for which McAdams drew particular acclaim, proving her to be a multi-faceted actress.
Oscar (nomination) glory eluded McAdams for years, though she had largely focused on romantic dramas and comedies during that time, maintaining relevance while earning the reputation as a bankable and reliable performer. That is, until she was cast in Tom McCarthy’s superb drama Spotlight, which earned a plethora of awards, including the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, while McAdams earned her first Oscar nod with a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
While her odds may not be as great as others on this list, she could earn another nomination for her impressive performance in the wildly acclaimed adaptation Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, which has received some of the best reviews of the year. However, the Best Supporting Actress category is incredibly competitive this year, so much so that McAdams’ nomination alone would be impressive. Sadly, even if she were nominated, she stands little to no chance against the powerhouse performances of Jodie Foster in Nyad, or Da’Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers.
Seth Rogen & Adam Goldberg
Oh yes, Canada’s pre-eminent filmmaking duo could indeed land their first Oscar nominations for their work on the wildly successful animated film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which they co-wrote and co-produced, making them eligible for the award much like Phil Lord and Chris Miller were when they won Best Animated Feature for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. However, Mutant Mayhem is not likely to beat out its sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, or indeed Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron, especially when the latter could be the last production from a living legend. A nomination, at least, would be recognition enough given the stiff competition this year.
Admittedly this is cheating on my part, as Glenn Howerton is American, but his performance in Matt Johnson’s Blackberry is best chance at an Oscar nod for what is one of the best movies of the year by a Canadian. It has generated limited awards buzz despite its widespread acclaim, but Howerton’s standout performance is the best shot it has. That is, unless it somehow manages to sneak into the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which is hardly likely given how crowded the field is this year, not to mention near-locks Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Poor Things.
Paul D. Austerberry and Tamara Deverell Canadian production designers who drawn significant praise for their works in The Color Purple and Priscilla respectively. Both have earned nominations before, while Austerberry won for his incredible work on The Shape of Water, but it is difficult to call who may or may not ultimately land a nomination here. Even then, this category is surely Sarah Greenwood’s to lose for her outstanding set design on Barbie.