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Oscars trivia, but make it Canadian

With the 95th Academy Awards just a few days away, we're looking back on some of Canada's Oscar wins...that might surprise you!
March 8, 2023 10:28 a.m. EST
March 8, 2023 10:28 a.m. EST

Name up to five Canadian Oscar winners…and go!

The clock is ticking. 

No clue? No biggie. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to name 10. With the 95th Academy Awards just a few days away, we're looking back on some of Canada's Oscar wins...that might surprise you!

Category is: the 80s

Iconic Cree musician Buffy Sainte-Marie wasn’t just the first Canadian to be nominated for Best Original Song, but she was also the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar®. She won for co-writing the score for An Officer and a Gentleman starring Richard Gere (1982). Karaoke lovers, don’t be shy! We’re here for your rendition of “Up Where We Belong”, ‘mountain’ high notes, and all!

Montreal runway model turned one of Hollywood’s most famous makeup artists, Michèle Burke won Oscars® for her work in Quest for Fire (1982) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

The 90s are calling

Kids do the darndest things like, say, winning an Oscar® at 11 years old. Turns out, Winnipeg-born Anna Paquin did just that when she won Best Supporting Actress for The Piano (1994). Her Oscar® win broke a 45-year losing streak for Canada in the acting category. So what if she grew up in New Zealand? We’re calling it a win!

Who comes to mind when you think of Titanic? Indeed, it was Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio who brought Rose and Jack’s love story to the big screen, but Ontario-born director James Cameron was Canada’s claim to fame at the Oscars® in 1998.

You see, Canada was having a moment that night with the record-breaking blockbuster winning 11 of its 14 nominations and Celine Dion’s iconic performance of “My Heart Will Go On”, winner for Best Song. Not that we want to brag, but it was the most-watched Oscars® broadcast ever with a whopping 55.3 million viewers.

I’ll Take ‘Y2Ks’ for $200

You can’t talk about the Oscars® without mentioning The Lord of the Rings trilogy and, yes, Canada got a piece of the action. Toronto-born music composer Howard Shore won three Academy Awards: two for Best Original Score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). He also won the Oscar® for Best Original Song for "Into the West" from Return of the King.

We can thank our French-speaking roots for this next one. Quebec director Denys Arcand was the first Canadian to win an Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film for the French sex comedy-drama The Barbarian Invasions (2004).

Did you know that a movie made by a Canadian filmmaker was caught up in one of the most controversial Oscar® wins? Turns out, London-Ont. born director Paul Haggis won two Oscars for Crash (2006), leaving hopeful Brokeback Mountain fans crushed when the frontrunner Western flick lost to Crash for Best Picture.

"You're only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?" said the late great Toronto-born Christopher Plummer, accepting his Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor for Beginners (2012) at age 82.

While we have yet to see what awaits Canadian talent at this year’s awards show, it’s going to be tough to top last year’s Dune sweep. The sci-fi epic by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve took home more awards than any other movie, winning Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design.

Another Canadian winner in 2022 was filmmaker Ben Proudfoot, of Halifax, who won Best Short Documentary for his film The Queen of Basketball.

So there you have it! By now, you’re practically a pro at Oscars® trivia, Canadian edition.

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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