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Oscars® 2023: Sarah Polley, James Cameron among Canadian nominees for best picture

Find out which homegrown talents will face off to take home gold this weekend!
March 6, 2023 1:20 p.m. EST
March 6, 2023 1:20 p.m. EST
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It’s Oscar®-mania in Hollywood, and Canada's film industry heavyweights are ready to rumble. The 95th Academy Awards® are almost here, and we’re turning the spotlight on this year’s Canadian nominees. From candid reactions about Oscar® nods, to which homegrown talents will face off to take home gold, we’ve got you covered.

Leading Films

Not one, but two Canadian filmmakers are contenders for Best Picture. Toronto-born  Sarah Polley is nominated for her 2022 feature film Women Talking, alongside Northern Ontario’s James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. In fact, both films could walk away winners from the Dolby Theatre being up for awards in multiple categories. Polley’s film based on the 2018 Miriam Toews’ novel of the same name is also in the running for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

Meanwhile, the box-office hit sequel to Avatar - what Cameron describes as his “love letter to the oceans” - scooped three other nominations for Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.

Well Played

Up next is one of the most talked about films of the year, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. The accolades keep rolling in for Canadian icon and fan-fave Brendan Fraser for his big screen comeback, aka #Brenaissance, in his first leading role in almost a decade.

Fraser, who was born in Indiana to Canadian parents and attended Upper Canada College in Toronto, plays an obese online English prof named Charlie who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter Ellie, played by Sadie Sink (Stranger Things). The star’s highly praised performance landed him a slot in the race for Best Actor in a Leading Role. 

Thanks to the critically acclaimed flick, Canadian talent earned a double dose of Oscar® worthy props. Fraser’s prosthetic makeup designer from Montreal, Adrien Morot, also scored a nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Validation for Animation

It’s going to be a tight race for gold between Sheridan College alums in the animation realm. Toronto filmmaker Domee Shi’s Disney and Pixar movie Turning Red will compete for Best Animated Feature with Netflix film The Sea Beast, directed by Chris Williams who grew up in Waterloo, Ontario.

Just hours after learning she had snagged an Oscar® nomination, Shi told the press the nod offered welcome "validation" that stories led by diverse characters can succeed.

While Oscar® winner for Disney’s animated ‘Big Hero Six’ in 2015, Williams credited his latest film’s success to the animators and staff working behind the scenes. “One of the things I definitely know is that a director doesn’t make a movie by themselves,” he said in an interview. “I am really happy for the crew, and probably especially happy for my mom because she loves the Oscars,” he added.

From Turning Red to turning heads of the Academy with yet another Canadian animation, The Flying Sailor directed by Calgary’s Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis is up for Best Animated Short.

Hot Docs

Competition heats up among Canadians for Best Documentary Feature Film. 

Not your average love story, National Geographic’s Fire of Love explores the lives of a French couple that loved two things: each other and volcanoes. The film, co-produced by Montreal’s Ina Fichman, is a tribute to the spectacular footage that fearless scientists and filmmakers Katia and Maurice Krafft left behind.

Catching heat in the same category is Toronto director, Daniel Roher’s film Navalny. The political thriller digs into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Hard-hitting docs aside, it wouldn’t be the Oscars® without a veteran host to flex their comedic chops throughout the three-hour live show, watched by 15 million viewers last year.

That said, the third time’s the charm for Jimmy Kimmel who’s back to host the Academy Awards. This will be the late-night comedian’s third stint as Oscars® host and he wants you to know that he’s ‘unslappable’.

Click here for a complete list of this year’s nominees.

ETALK LIVE AT THE OSCARS® airs live Sunday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT on CTV,, and the CTV app.
COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS® follows live at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on CTV,, and the CTV app.
The 95th OSCARS® airs live Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CTV,, and the CTV app.
Non-stop extended coverage is available all weekend long across ETALK's social media channels @etalkctv.


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