Quebec filmmaker vies for Oscar nod
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A short film by Quebec actor Yan England is in the running for an Oscar nomination.
England’s 21-minute film Henry is among 11 shorts being considered for a nod in the live action short category.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says Henry will compete against contenders with considerable star power: actress Bryce Dallas Howard directs “when you find me,” executive produced by her famous Oscar-winning dad, Ron Howard.
Meanwhile, the Dutch-language Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) features Rust and Bone hunk Matthias Schoenaerts; and the Italian-set The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars stars Nastassja Kinski and Julian Sands.
Henry is about an 84-year-old concert pianist whose life is thrown into turmoil when his wife mysteriously disappears.
The 29-year-old England says it was inspired by the experiences of his own grandfather, who developed Alzheimer’s disease and died three years ago at age 96.
“He had an amazing memory. He could remember every single detail of everything,” England said Wednesday from the set of the francophone TV drama “Yamaska.”
“When he turned 92, at some point I was having coffee with him and my mom ... and he looked at us and he asked us if he had been a good man.”
England, a former child actor, says he cried when he learned late Thursday that he’d made the Oscar shortlist. The race started with 125 pictures in the category.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
“All of a sudden I had this email and I started crying all over the place and I was thrilled about everything and it was just an amazing feeling to have this great opportunity.”
For his film, he assembled a cast of veteran Quebec performers including Gerard Poirier as Henry and Louise Laprade as Henry’s wife Maria.
England said he’s been acting since age eight but always hoped to one day write, direct and do everything in between on a film set.
“I’ve always dreamed of doing it all,” said England, noting that Charlie Chaplin was his childhood idol. “It was such a thrill to do this project from A to Z.”
The Academy’s branch for short films and feature animation will now whittle the field down to between three and five nominees. Nominations will be announced Jan. 10, 2013.
The awards bash will air Feb. 24 on ABC.
“This is just beyond what I had expected,” England said.
“I was thrilled to submit it to the Academy Awards. It was a great opportunity. Now to be in the top 11 is just like:
Really? Thank you very much. Thank you so much.”’