After winning the prize of Best Canadian Film at TIFF, Philippe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar
wins an equally tight race to become Canada's official submission in the race for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. It's a mild surprise, considering that the French-language Starbuck
won the tighter race for the People's Choice Award, scoring the Runner-Up prize. Monsier Lazhar
is a worthy choice nonetheless, especially as explained in the press release
from Telefilm Canada:
Telefilm Canada, which chairs the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, is proud to announce that the feature film Monsieur Lazhar, directed by Philippe Falardeau, has been submitted as Canada's choice for consideration as a possible nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 84th Academy Awards, to be held in Hollywood on February 26, 2012.
This honour is only the latest of the awards the film has recently won. In August, at the 64th Locarno International Film Festival, Monsieur Lazhar picked up the Variety Piazza Grande Award, given in recognition of a work's artistic qualities and commercial viability, as well as the UBS Audience Award. After winning over movie-goers in Switzerland, the movie did the same at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature Film.
"Philippe Falardeau has enthralled audiences and critics alike with an outstandingly crafted film that deals with touching themes. Being in the Oscar race is a well-deserved honour for Monsieur Lazhar," said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. "The Oscar ceremony is an incredible springboard for both the movie and its country's film industry."
Falardeau's film is a warm audience-friendly film and arguably a departure from last year's Canadian selection - and nominee - Incendies
, which was by all regards robbed. I reviewed Monsieur Lazhar
on Awards Daily, calling it "a sweet film that pleases through the earnestness and conviction of its collaborators." Best of luck!