TORONTO — For famed father-and-son filmmakers Ivan and Jason Reitman, there couldn’t have been a more perfect symbolic gesture.
Ivan Reitman, director of such hits as Ghostbusters and Stripes, tearfully passed the Olympic flame to his Montreal-born moviemaker son in Toronto’s north end Thursday, near where the elder Reitman grew up.
The event came on the same day that Jason Reitman’s latest charmer, Up in the Air, co-produced by his father, was nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two days after it earned six Golden Globe nods.
“It’s only appropriate that I pass (the torch) on . . . to Jason,” Reitman, 62, said while sitting beside his son in an interview before the run.
“The metaphor is so obvious I really don’t know how I can elaborate on it,” Jason Reitman, 32, added with a laugh, noting so many milestones in one week had him feeling a bit bewildered.
“This is kind of a week of weeks. It’s a bit overwhelming, frankly. I don’t know how to put into words everything that’s happened, starting with the Golden Globe nominations coming out on Tuesday morning and now culminating with this torch run today.”
Up in the Air, now in theatres, stars George Clooney as a frequent flyer who fires people for a living.
On Thursday, Clooney received a SAG nomination for lead actor while co-stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick picked up nods for best supporting actress.
And on Tuesday, the film’s Golden Globes nods included best film (drama), best actor (drama) for Clooney, best director for Reitman and best screenplay for him and co-writer Sheldon Turner.
Earlier this month, Up in the Air won four awards from the National Board of Review, including best picture.
All the accolades are, of course, very familiar to Jason Reitman.
His last film, the 2007 teen-pregnancy comedy Juno, was also up for several Golden Globes before nabbing four Oscar nominations, including one for Reitman’s directing. It eventually won one Oscar for Diablo Cody’s screenplay.
Thank You for Smoking, the 2005 tobacco salesman comedy helmed and co-written by Jason Reitman, was also in the running for two Golden Globes.
This latest awards whirlwind with Up in the Air — which critics say is a slam-dunk for Oscar love — feels different, he said, because he can share it with his father.
“Having gone through the experience of Juno, I never really quite thought I would have that again, and yet this movie, Up in the Air, has just been very generous to both my father and I,” said Reitman, who lives in Los Angeles. “We’ve been able to share already many great moments and we’re still a month away from putting tuxes on and going to the Golden Globes together, which I imagine will be pretty incredible.”
The elder Reitman praised his son for becoming “an extraordinary filmmaker in his own right.”
“For the longest time I wasn’t even aware that Jason wanted to be a filmmaker,” he said. “I think he was guarding his desires because he was somewhat nervous about the weight of going into dad’s business.”
“And he found a way to sort of make it his own, to find a way that he could feel very comfortable about creating his own unique way of approaching filmmaking, storytelling and getting himself recognized for the work that he does, not for anybody else’s work.”