London's own Ryan Gosling could have a date with Oscar
Published Monday, January 23, 2017 5:31AM EST
Ryan Gosling arrives at the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
TORONTO -- When this year's Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday there's a good chance some Canadians will be prominently in the mix, most notably Quebec director Denis Villeneuve and London, Ont.-born actor Ryan Gosling.
The in-demand duo, who are working together on the upcoming sci-fi film noir "Blade Runner 2049," has already racked up a long list of honours on the awards circuit.
Villeneuve's aliens-have-landed thriller "Arrival" is up for nine British Academy Film Awards and got two Golden Globe nominations. The Directors Guild of America also nominated Villeneuve for its outstanding directorial achievement award.
Meanwhile, Gosling won a Golden Globe for his role as a jazz musician in the dreamy musical "La La Land," which took home seven awards in total. He's also up for BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards for best leading actor.
"Ryan Gosling, when you look at his body of work, he's an artist that makes no compromise," Villeneuve said during an interview at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards earlier this month.
Gosling has equal praise for Villeneuve.
"He's very inspiring and he's a gentleman, to boot," Gosling said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"He's very Canadian. Our ('Blade Runner') crew is very Canadian. It's kind of funny, just everyone apologizing to each other all the time for no reason."
Villeneuve and Gosling are both well established in their careers: Gosling's honours include an Oscar nomination in 2007 for "Half Nelson," and Villeneuve got a BAFTA nomination in 2012 for the mystery-drama "Incendies" and a Palme d'Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for "Sicario."
But their profiles have really skyrocketed lately, with their current projects landing them major features in high-profile publications that have declared the indie darlings as bona fide Hollywood A-listers.
"I was happy to see Ryan Gosling win that (Golden Globe). He's oh so charming," said Toronto filmmaker Matt Johnson, whose fake documentary "Operation Avalanche" was up for a TFCA Award and is nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards.
"He's the biggest star in the world."
Oscar-nominated Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan praises Villeneuve's ambition.
"Denis Villeneuve is one of the best directors that are working right now and I've just been in awe of all of his movies, starting with 'Polytechnique' and 'Incendies,"' he said in an interview at the TFCA Awards.
"He's working at such a high level of craft and being able to work with these amazing performers and create this very distinct visual language."
Film critics say Villeneuve's willingness to tackle genre pictures is one of the keys to his success.
"We haven't had a lot of Canadian directors who have been able to do that and I can only think that he must be really popular with actors and that he's really a congenial presence on set -- because that gets around," said Brian D. Johnson, a journalist and outgoing TFCA president.
"You don't just get judged by your work, you get judged by your process."
Villeneuve, whose other films also include "Enemy" and "Prisoners," has also benefited from a strong support system in Quebec, said Johnson.
"(Villeneuve's success), to me, is a perfect example of how a really, really strongly funded, local film movement can have massive global effects, and by that I'm talking about the French-Canadian branch of Telefilm," he said.
"They're so supportive of first filmmakers, they're so supportive of young talent and they're so good at continually funding people before they break out as opposed to, I think, the more senescence system we have in English Canada where we're funding the people who have long since broken out and not those that are up-and-coming.
"That's how you get a Denis Villeneuve, that's how you get a Jean-Marc Vallee -- is by funding hundreds of young filmmakers who eventually are going to find their feet and then make these huge splashes that you're seeing now."
Also in contention for a nomination is Xavier Dolan, whose film "It's Only the End of the World" is one of nine movies still in the running for a best foreign-language Oscar nod.