HOLLYWOOD–It might have been very early in the morning in Canada for Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan when the nominations for the 70th Academy Awards were announced in Hollywood–but Tuesday will be a day the young director will not soon forget.
At least–not until awards night March 23.
And until then–Egoyan will surely bask in the glow of his most recent triumph–two Academy Award nominations for his most recent film–"The Sweet Hereafter," one for best director and one for best adapted screenplay. Among other awards–"The Sweet Hereafter" received the Best Film Genie–the Canadian equivalent to the Academy Award.
"The Sweet Hereafter" begins in the wake of an accident in the small rural community of Sam Dent–British Columbia. A school bus has inexplicably crashed into a frozen lake–killing fourteen children and injuring many others–and soon after–Mitchell Stephens (Ian Holm)–a lawyer who is himself bedeviled by his daughter’s hopeless drug addiction–arrives in the geographically isolated town–promising the townspeople compensation and retribution for their loss if they will let him represent them in a class-action suit.
The film is based on the novel by Russell Banks and features a primarily-Canadian cast including Caerthan Banks–Maury Chaykin–Alberta Watson–Gabrielle Rose–Arsinee Khanjian and Earl Pastko.
Egoyan–who has directed seven other feature films including Next of Kin–Family Viewing–Speaking Parts–The Adjuster–Calendar and Exotica–will be up against four major-studio directors for the best director nod–including James Cameron (Titanic)–Peter Cattaneo (The Fully Monty)–Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential).
"The Sweet Hereafter" will also be competing against such films as Donnie Brasco (Paul Attanasio)–LA Confidential (Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson)–Wag the Dog (Hilary Henkin and David Mamet) and The Wings of the Dove (Hossein Amini)–in the best adapted screenplay category.
The 70th Annual Academy Awards will be telecast live on ABC Monday–March 23.