Oscars weekend kicked off on Thursday at the official residence of Zaib Shaikh, the Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles, celebrating the country’s nominees.
Scattered around an outdoor swimming pool, well-wishers gathered to speak with Women Talking director Sarah Polley and Turning Red director Domee Shi. With nominees in makeup, directing and acting, Canadians are well represented across the board this awards season.
The Whale’s Brendan Fraser made a low-key appearance, spending his evening inside the consulate, skipping the press line.
As temperatures dipped to a Canadian-like 12 C, the party kept going into the evening.
CBC News’ senior reporter Eli Glasner caught up with nominees and stars on Thursday to talk about film, representation and what it means to honour homegrown talent.
The Women Talking actor discusses what it was like to work on a Sarah Polley set:
“Sarah Polley set a very high bar in terms of excellence and everybody bringing their A-game every single day. It was terrifying. I mean, we were doing 120 takes of 11-page scenes, three days in a row. So it was the Olympics, but having said that, she also created a playground for us to play in and to fail in and to be collaborative in.”
The Turning Red actor on India’s Tollywood hit RRR, a best original song nominee:
“It is really cool to see RRR just up at the front … I can’t even count how many times people have said to me, ‘that movie is just so cool’ and I’m like, ‘trust me, there are so many more out there of all these South Asian stories. This is just the tip of the iceberg.'”
The Women Talking director on creating a humane filmmaking environment:
“When you sit down with a budget and you move things around and you realize that it’s not, it doesn’t come for free, creating [these] working conditions. I hope that doesn’t dissipate in people’s minds, but it does feel like a conversation is happening around it.”
The Turning Red filmmaker on breaking down Asian stereotypes on screen:
“I think you’re also just seeing for the first time people from those communities getting the chance to tell these stories from their own personal experiences, too. And we’re finally breaking down the stereotypes, the one-dimensional depictions of what it means to be Asian. What it means to be an Asian mother, an Asian woman.”
The Sea Beast director on why animation is a team effort:
“One person does not make an animated film. We are so reliant on each other … Not one person could tell you how an animated movie gets made, you know what I mean? It’s that complicated. There are hundreds of people that dedicate years of their lives to make one animated film. And there’s something about the Canadian psyche that I think just sort of can work in that environment very well.”
The Whale‘s makeup artist on designing prosthetics that Brendan Fraser brought to life:
“Until you glue it onto the actor’s face and he starts acting with it and you see the range of mobility that he has and that it doesn’t obstruct his acting abilities … It’s no longer your creation now [and] it’s no longer Brendan. It becomes the character that you all strive to achieve. And that’s amazing. It’s a magical moment. You feel like Dr. Frankenstein.”