Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World eyes Oscar
Filmmaker Xavier Dolan speaks to reporters in Montreal on May 23, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
MONTREAL — When it comes to earning his first-ever Oscar nomination, the third time could be the charm for Xavier Dolan.
The Montreal filmmaker’s “It’s Only the End of the World” was chosen Friday as Canada’s choice for best-foreign language film at the Oscars, making it the third Dolan effort to earn the nod.
The French-language drama about a writer who returns home to tell his estranged family he’s dying was announced by Telefilm Canada as the country’s choice.
They also previously chose Dolan’s acclaimed films “I Killed My Mother” in 2009 and “Mommy” in 2014, but both failed to be nominated as finalists for the prize.
“It’s Only the End of the World” is adapted from the play “Juste la fin du monde” by late French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce and stars some of France’s most famous actors: Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel.
The team behind “It’s Only the End of the World” will now begin a promotional campaign aimed at raising the film’s visibility, Dolan said.
The 27-year-old director said the promotional tour that followed the selection of “Mommy” has prepared him for what is to come.
“It was a great opportunity to see what this is about and what is the actual constitution of such a journey,” he told a Montreal news conference.
“We’re ready to embark on this again with optimism and faith in the film we’ve crafted and produced, and we’ll see.”
Canada’s selection was made by a 23-member committee made up of government and film industry representatives.
The Academy will first vote on a shortlist of best-foreign language films before deciding on the final list of nominated films in January.
Although the film was honoured with the second-place Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Dolan said he didn’t see Friday’s announcement as a continuation of that journey.
He pointed out that the Oscar audience is vastly different than the one in Europe and many American audiences have not yet been exposed to his film.
“I see this an opportunity to introduce the film to a new market and a new public who have not seen the film, not the public who have,” he said. “This is about what’s next.”
Canada has had four movies chosen as finalists in the category in the past six years.
The last Canadian film to earn a foreign-language Oscar nomination was Kim Nguyen’s “Rebelle” in 2013.
No Canadian film has won since Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions” took the prize in 2004.
The 89th Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 26, 2017.