Sunday night, the Oscars might bring 2 more Canadians into a tiny list of Oscar winners from north of the 49th parallel. Ryan Gosling and Denis Villeneuve are up for major awards. The idea of having 2 nominations in the same year in the modern era is highly rare.
2009 was a banner year with 3 Canadian nominations. James Cameron (Avatar) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) were up for Best Director while Christopher Plummer was a Best Supporting Actor nominee for The Last Station.
James Cameron (Titanic) beat out Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) for Best Director in 1997. Ellen Page and Jason Reitman was both nominated for Juno (2007).
In 1970, Chief Dan George was a Best Supporting Actor nominee for Little Big Man while Arthur Hiller was nominated for Best Director for Love Story.
Let's illustrate where Canada was in a bygone era versus success in the modern era.
Walter Huston received 2 nominations: 1936 for Dodsworth and 1941 for The Devil and Daniel Webster. Walter Pidgeon received back-to-back nominations in 1942 for Mrs. Miniver and 1943 for Madame Curie. Raymond Massey was nominated for Abe Lincoln in Illinois in 1940. Alexander Knox got an nomination for Wilson in 1944.
Canadian actors received 6 nominations in this category between 1936-1944. Ryan Gosling is the only Canadian actor in this category since 1944. Gosling was nominated in 2006 for Half Nelson and again this year for La La Land.
Canadian actresses really shined in this category way back in the day.
Norma Shearer won for The Divorcee (1929/1930). Shearer also was nominated for Their Own Desire (1929/1930), A Free Soul (1930/1931), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Romeo and Juliet (1936), and Marie Antoniette (1938).
Mary Pickford won for Coquette (1928/1929). Marie Dressler won for Min and Bill (1930/1931) and was nominated for Emma (1931/1932).
Since 1938, Canadian women have had 2 nominations in this category. Geneviève Bujold, the only French-Canadian actor with an Oscar nomination, was acknowledged for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). Ellen Page was nominated for Juno (2007).
Best Supporting Actor
Walter Huston won in this category and had 2 overall nominations. Huston won for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and was nominated for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).
Canadian-born Harold Russell won for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). Russell is one of 2 Oscars winners who wasn't a professional actor.
Other nominees from that era include Gene Lockhart for Algiers (1938); Hume Cronyn for The Seventh Cross (1944); and Canadian-born John Ireland for All the King's Men (1949).
Canada is reasonably represented in this category in the modern era.
Jack Kruschen played the neighbor in The Apartment (1960). Chief Dan George was the first native actor to get an Oscar nom for Little Big Man (1970).
Canada had back-to-back nominees. Dan Aykroyd is one of several Saturday Night Live alumni to get an Oscar nomination, in his case for Driving Miss Daisy (1989). No SNL alum have ever won an Oscar. Graham Greene was the second First Nations Oscar nominee for Dances With Wolves (1990).
Christopher Plummer had 2 nominations: The Last Station (2009) and an Oscar win for Beginners (2011). Plummer is the only Canadian-born and bred actor to win an Oscar in the modern era.
Best Supporting Actress
In this category, Canadians received little in the bygone era, but a decent amount in the modern era. Lucile Watson was nominated for Watch on the Rhine (1943).
Anna Paquin was born in Canada but raised in New Zealand. Paquin became the second youngest actor to win an Oscar at age 11 for The Piano (1993). Paquin currently stars in the CBC drama Bellevue.
The Tilly sisters, American-born but Canadian actresses, each have a nomination in this category. Meg Tilly snapped a 42-year Canadian drought in this category with Agnes of God (1985). Jennifer Tilly got a nod in the Woody Allen film Bullets over Broadway (1994).
Kate Nelligan got an nomination in this category for The Prince of Tides (1991). The only 21st-century nominee is Rachel McAdams for Spotlight (2015)
The Best Director category is a bit easier for Canadians to assimilate. James Cameron is still the only director with an Oscar win for Titanic (1997). Cameron's other nomination was for Avatar (2009).
Norman Jewison was one of the first Canadian directors to cross over. Jewison got the nod for In the Heat of the Night (1967); Fiddler on the Roof (1971); and Moonstruck (1987).
Edward Dmytryk was the first Canadian nomination for Crossfire (1947). Mark Robson won back-to-back nods in 1957 and 1958 for Peyton Place and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, respectively.
In the modern era, Arthur Hiller didn't have to say he was sorry for his nomination for Love Story (1970).
In both 1997 and 2009, the Oscars had 2 Canadian nominees in this category. Atom Egoyan lost out to Cameron for The Sweet Hereafter. Jason Reitman had his second nomination in 2009 for Up in the Air. Reitman was also nominated for Juno (2007).
Paul Haggis received an Oscar nod for Crash (2005) not to be confused with the David Cronenberg film of the same name.
Denis Villeneuve is the first French-Canadian director to get an Oscar nomination for Arrival (2016).
photo credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Landmark Vineyards