Canadian film ‘Eternal Spring’ misses Oscar race for best international feature

By David Friend

Canada’s entry for best international feature has been knocked out of the competition at next year’s Oscars.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the short list of films that will advance to the next round of voting in the category and “Eternal Spring” is not on it.

Jason Loftus’s animated documentary about religious persecution in China was this year’s submission for Canada.

“Eternal Spring” tells the story of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, which was targeted by police raids after a faction of members hacked into a state TV signal in an effort to correct the record about their practice.

The Mandarin-language film was submitted by Telefilm Canada, which headed a pan-Canadian selection committee that voted for Canada’s choice. It was the first animated feature to be submitted by the country.

The Academy accepts only one submission from each country for consideration in the best international feature. It says 92 countries and regions were eligible in the category this year.

Overall, the Oscar short lists were announced for 10 categories and other Canadian films advanced in their respective categories.

The National Film Board’s “The Flying Sailor,” inspired by the events of the 1917 Halifax explosion, is still in the running for a potential best animated short nomination. The film is by duo Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis.

Toronto filmmaker Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” was shortlisted for a best original score nom.

And David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” is also among the films still vying for a best makeup and hairstyling nomination.

Among the 15 tracks that moved forward in the best original song competition are two with involvement from major Toronto stars. The Weeknd’s “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from “Avatar: The Way of Water” is among the potential contenders while Drake co-wrote on Giveon’s “Time” from “Amsterdam.”

The Oscar nominations for all categories will be announced on Jan. 24.