Pop Culture

Published December 12, 2022

Toronto filmmaker Sarah Polley's 'Women Talking' earns two Golden Globe nominations

Among the nominees for best actor in a drama this year is Canadian-American Brendan Fraser
Golden Globes Canadians - CP

By Noel Ransome

Canadians Sarah Polley and James Cameron and the Toronto-set animated film "Turning Red" picked up Golden Globe nominations Monday, as the awards show attempts a comeback a year after facing criticism over a lack of diversity within its ranks. 

Polley's "Women Talking," adapted from Manitoba author Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel earned the Toronto filmmaker her first Golden Globe nomination and a nod for best score for Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir.  

The film centres on a group of women debating what actions to take in the aftermath of a series of sexual assaults in their remote Mennonite community. The cast includes Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley.

"Women Talking" will open in Toronto on Dec. 23 and expand to additional markets in January. 

Meanwhile, James Cameron's much-anticipated sequel "Avatar: The Way of the Water" is nominated for best film, drama, and the Ontario-born filmmaker is among the all-male nominees contending for best director. This is the fourth nomination for Cameron, who won best director for the first "Avatar" film and "Titanic." 

Disney Pixar's "Turning Red," a coming-of-age adventure about a Chinese-Canadian girl wrestling with puberty, is nominated for best animated feature. The movie is helmed by Toronto director Domee Shi, who previously won an Academy Award for her animated short “Bao."

Questions remain about how the Golden Globes will be received both in Hollywood and by the public after the awards show was pulled off the air by U.S. broadcaster NBC in 2021.

Last year, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that the show's organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, included no Black members, a revelation compounded by other allegations of ethical improprieties. 

Many stars and studios said they would boycott the 2021 event, including Tom Cruise who returned three of his awards in protest.

Over the last year and a half, the HFPA has revamped its membership and enacted reforms designed to curtail unethical behaviour. The group added new and more diverse members.

Hosted by comedian Jerrod Carmichael, the awards are set to return Jan. 10 on NBC. In Canada, the Globes will broadcast on Citytv after years of being carried on CTV.

Among the nominees for best actor in a drama this year is Canadian-American Brendan Fraser for his part in "The Whale." Fraser has said he won’t attend the Globes after previously alleging that he was groped in 2003 by Philip Berk, a former HFPA member and former president of the organization. Berk disputed Fraser's account.

Other Canadian nominees include Vancouver-born Seth Rogen for supporting actor in the limited series "Pam & Tommy." Hamilton native Martin Short received the best actor in a TV comedy series nomination for his role in "Only Murders in the Building."

This year's nominees were led by Martin McDonagh's feuding friends tale “The Banshees of Inisherin” with eight nominations, while Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's existential action comedy “Everything Everywhere all at Once” came in second with six nominations.

The HFPA has historically been derided — sometimes even by their own hosts — for off-the-wall picks and a lack of diversity among the contenders. The film nominees Monday included eight people of colour among the 30 acting individual acting nominees.

Additionally, no women were nominated in the best director category. Polley was snubbed for "Women Talking" along with Chinonye Chukwu for “Till” and Gina Prince-Bythewood for “The Woman King.”

"Women Talking" is Polley's first screenplay nomination at the Golden Globes, although her 2007 feature "Away From Her" earned Julie Christie a win for best actress in a motion picture drama for her turn as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.

- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2022.

Banner image via The Canadian Press

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