Four of the five best film nominees are Quebec productions. (English-language Canadian films tend to get crushed by the weight of big-budget productions from south of the border.) Of these, Maurice Richard / The Rocket (above), a biopic of the popular Quebecois hockey player, garnered the most nods – thirteen in all.
In addition to its inclusion in the best film shortlist, The Rocket is also in the running in several top categories, including best direction (Charles Binamé), best actor (Roy Dupuis), best actress (Julie Le Breton), and best original screenplay (Ken Scott).
All those nominations, however, feel anti-climactic. Last year, The Rocket was up for 14 Jutra Awards – the Quebecois equivalent to the Oscars – and lost in every single category, most often to Jean-Marc Vallée's powerhouse C.R.A.Z.Y., a quite funny (and quite touching) tale of a young gay man growing up in the Montreal of the 1960s and 1970s. (C.R.A.Z.Y. also dominated last year's Genies.)
The other four best film nominees are:
- The bilingual Bon Cop, Bad Cop, about a by-the-book Ontario cop and an easy-going Quebecois cop working together to solve a murder – and the highest grossing home-grown film of all time in Canada, with nearly Can$13 million;
- Guide de la Petite Vengeance / The Little Book of Revenge, which revolves around an accountant seeking revenge on his mean-spirited boss;
- Un dimanche à Kigali / A Sunday in Kigali (above), the story of a journalist (best actor nominee Luc Picard) who returns to Rwanda to search for his lover (Fatou N'Diaye) following the Tutsi genocide;
- and the English-language comedy Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, inspired by a popular TV show, in which three buds come up with a master plan to get rich (or die trying): To steal a huge amount of coins. Needless to say, Trailer Park Boys was a major hit. In fact, according to Paul Gratton, chair of the Canadian Academy, the list of 2007 Genie nominees is “probably our most commercial slate.”
In addition to Dupuis and Picard, the other best actor nominees are Colm Feore as the Ontario cop and Patrick Huard as the Quebecois cop in Bon Cop, Bad Cop (above), and Olivier Gourmet as a quirky Belgian inventor who travels to Quebec in search of his family in Congorama.
Besides Le Breton and N'Diaye (who won the best actress award at the 2006 Marrakech Film Festival), the other best actress nominees are 11-year-old Jodelle Ferland in Tideland, Sigourney Weaver as an autistic woman who befriends a man (Alan Rickman) traumatized after a deadly car accident in Snow Cake, and Ginette Reno in the family comedy-drama Le Secret de ma mère / My Mother's Secret.
Jennifer Baichwal's well-received Manufactured Landscapes is up for a best documentary award.
The 2007 Genie winners will be announced on Feb. 13.