And the nominees are...

February 25, 2016

The 88th Academy Awards is this Sunday, and everyone is speculating who’ll take home the top prizes in acting (though, spoiler alert: they’ll go to white people). In CanLit, the main characters can display heart and villainy, conviction and uncertainty, cowardliness and bravery, sometimes all on the same page. We nominated some of our own “best actors” for men and women roles from books released in 2015. Here’s our deliberations.

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The 88th Academy Awards is this Sunday, and everyone is speculating who’ll take home the top prizes in acting (though, spoiler alert:  they’ll go to white people). In CanLit, the main characters can display heart and villainy, conviction and uncertainty, cowardliness and bravery, sometimes all on the same page. We nominated some of our own “best actors” for men and women roles from books released in 2015. Here’s our deliberations.

Best Actor in a Lead Role

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Jon Chan Simpson smashes stereotypes in edgy debut Chinkstar (Coach House Books), and lead Run leaves audiences on the edge of their seat as he uncovers his own identity amidst an underworld of rap battles and gang violence. Shot on location in Red Deer, Alberta.

Grant Buday’s moving historical romance-drama The Delusionist (Anvil Press), about a Canadian teenager set apart from his Ukraine-born family, shines through the performance of young Cyril Andrachuk as he falls in love with Connie Chow and discovers a passion for art.

Martin John’s dark performance as a molester and sexual exhibitionist in the titular role of Anakana Schofield’s Martin John (Biblioasis) riveted audiences, especially in scenes with his exasperated and terrified mother (Dame Diana Rigg) and tenant Baldy Conscience (Corey Stoll).

Breathing Lessons (Vehicule Press) is brought to life through the powerful performance of Henry Moss and the no-holds-barred direction of author Andy Sinclair, in this boldly erotic and truly heartfelt story of a gay man growing older and looking for stability amidst previously unheard-of freedom.

Louise Carson expertly steers initially reluctant Peter Forrest in her political thriller Executor (Signature Editions) to delivering a high-stakes search for the truth in modern China after becoming the executor of a former professor’s (and lover’s!) will.

 

Best Actress in a Lead Role

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The six-year-old Narrator in Martine Delveaux’s Bitter Rose (Linda Leith Publishing) could unseat Anna Paquin as youngest recipient of the award ever, with her arresting performance as an unreliable witness to the dangerous goings-on in a small Francophone town in Ontario.

Sigal Samuel’s hilarious and moving The Mystics of Mile End (Freehand Books) delighted audiences with the Meyer family, but especially Samara, whose increasingly erratic attempts to rediscover religion and finish her father’s work gain the attentions of family and neighbours around her.

Split’s twin sisters move audiences with help from direction of author Libby Creelman (and EP Goose Lane Editions) but it is Pilgrim, the woman returning to pick up the pieces of their family’s shattered past, that shines brightest in this multi-generational drama.

Youth and adult audiences alike were rapt at the bold performance of plucky heroine Lydia Buckingham in Mix Hart’s Queen of the Godforsaken (Thistledown Press), who sets out into the brutal Saskatchewan snows with little sister Victoria after her parents prove unfit to care, or care about, their well-being.

Lisa Guenther’s visceral debut Friendly Fire (NeWest Press) is brought to life through the performance of lead Darby Swank, and the range of emotion she shows as a young woman grieving the tragic loss of her beloved aunt, and the irreversible shift in her life in the country as a result.

* * *

 

Although these nominees are all worthy of the prize, we’re sure about one thing: Leo isn’t going to give this one up so easily.

sadleo


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