MONTREAL — French-language Quebec pics again dominated the nominations for Canadian film kudos the Genie Awards.
All six leading nominees are made-in-Quebec productions and five of the six are French-lingo pics.
Frontrunner is “The Last Tunnel,” a gritty bank-heist pic from helmer Erik Canuel, with eight noms including actor (Michel Cote) and supporting actor (Canadian Sen. Jean Lapointe).
But the talk following Tuesday’s announcement was the surprising absence of Annette Bening, the Oscar-nominated star of Canuck co-prod “Being Julia,” which has already snagged her a Golden Globe Award.
Under Genie rules, only the Canuck cast and crew are eligible for awards on Canadian co-productions that are not directed by a Canadian.
“Being Julia,” a Canadian/British/Hungarian co-production, is helmed by Hungarian Istvan Szabo.
Pic drew noms for film and supporting actor for Canuck thesp Bruce Greenwood, but Bening, an American, is not eligible.
Helmer John Duigan’s Canadian/British period drama “Head in the Clouds” gleaned seven noms in technical categories.
“Ma vie en cinemascope,” a biopic about legendary Quebecois chanteuse Alys Robi that has rung up C$3 million ($2.4 million) at the box office, also received seven noms including picture, actress (Pascale Bussieres), director and original screenplay (both Denise Filiatrault).
“Machine Gun Molly,” the true story of a 1960s bank robber, snared seven nominations, including actress (Celine Bonnier), director (Pierre Houle) and adapted screenplay (Luc Dionne, Sylvain Guy).
The other nominees for picture are urban comedy “Love, Sex & Eating the Bones,” memory-loss whodunit “Looking for Alexander” and French/Canadian animated co-prod “The Triplets of Belleville.”
Last year the Genies were dominated by Quebec films, led by Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions.”
Nominations were announced at press conferences in Montreal and Toronto; awards will be handed out March 21 in Toronto.