Canadian ‘Breadwinner’ producer says he was losing sleep ahead of Oscar nominations

The Canadian producers behind the Oscar-nominated animated feature “The Breadwinner” say they didn’t want to get swept into the awards buzz.

But as the announcement for the Academy Awards contenders neared this morning, one of them found himself sleepless in suspense.

Anthony Leo says he desperately tried to distract himself from thinking about the Oscars by focusing on some work overnight.

It wasn’t until he saw his film listed among the nominees that he breathed a sigh of relief.

“The Breadwinner,” based on Canadian author Deborah Ellis’s book, tells the story of an 11-year-old Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy to help provide for her family.

Andrew Rosen, a Toronto-based producer on the film, says he’s hopeful the Oscar nomination will expose his film to new audiences.

“The Breadwinner” is nominated alongside a diverse selection of animated films, including “The Boss Baby,” with a talking infant voiced by Alec Baldwin, Disney’s colourful Mexican musical “Coco,” and “Ferdinand,” about a young bull stolen from his home. “Loving Vincent,” an oil-painted animation about the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, rounds out the group.

Rosen jokes that he’s unsure if “The Breadwinner” nomination disqualifies him from participating in his usual Oscar pool with friends.

“It’s going to be very weird to have one of my films on it this year,” he says.

“I’m going to have to lock the category so nobody gets embarrassed for choosing ‘Coco.’”

“The Breadwinner,” a Canadian co-production with an executive producer in Angelina Jolie, features Toronto actress Saara Chaudry as the voice of the lead character. The movie, written by Canadian filmmaker Anita Doron, also got a Golden Globe nomination for best animated film.

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