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Canada’s ‘War Witch’ nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
January 10, 2013

By way of enthusiastic Oscar host Seth McFarlane (“Ted”) and actress Emma Stone (“Gangster Squad”), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the list of Oscar nominees in Los Angeles on Thursday morning. And while it was a mostly American-centric list of actors, directors, and films, some Canadian content could be found amongst the list of potential Academy Award winners.

See also: The full list of 2013 Oscar nominees

The Canadian film “War Witch” (better known in Canada by its French title “Rebelle”) was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Directed by Montreal’s Kim Nguyen, “War Witch” follows a 14-year-old African child soldier telling the story of her life to her unborn child. Early last year, “War Witch” became the first Canadian film in more than a decade to compete for the coveted Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival – a promising sign that big things were in store for the movie.

“War Witch” is the sixth Canadian film overall to be nominated for the honour. The Great White North has been on something of an Oscar roll lately, as this is now the third consecutive year that a Canadian movie has been nominated in the prestigious category. Previous Canadian Oscar exports include 2011’s “Monsieur Lazhar,” 2010’s “Incendies,” and 2006’s “Water.” The last time a Canadian film won the Best Foreign Language award was in 2003, when Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions" took home the prize.

While Austrian director Michael Haneke's "Amour" is the odds-on favourite in the category this year, even being nominated for the award is a big deal. Surprises can always happen, though.

See also: Full coverage of the 2013 Academy Awards

Canada is also represented in other Oscar categories this year. Canadian composer Mychael Danna was nominated for Best Original Score and Best Song for his work on Ang Lee’s "Life of Pi," while the National Film Board of Canada-financed "Buzkashi Boys" was nominated in the Best Short Film (Live Action) category. Montreal-based Afghan-Canadian filmmaker Ariel Nasr produced the film.

A very Canadian story is also front and centre at the 2012 Oscars. Although not technically a Canadian movie, actor/director Ben Affleck’s “Argo” was nominated in several categories, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin. The film tells the story of the so-called “Canadian Caper,” a joint American-Canadian operation to extract U.S. diplomats being sheltered by their Canuck counterparts during the 1979 Iranian revolution and hostage crisis.

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