'How to Train Your Dragon' filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — Canadian talent from major Hollywood films including "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," "Ford v Ferrari" and "1917" are headed to the Oscars.

Animator Dean DeBlois, who hails from Aylmer, Que., got a nod Monday morning for best animated feature for the final instalment in the heralded "How to Train Your Dragon" trilogy.

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DeBlois wrote and directed the coming-of-age story, which has the lead voice of Montreal-raised actor Jay Baruchel as a young Viking named Hiccup. In this final instalment, Hiccup is a young adult, contemplating his future and finding a new home for his dragon, Toothless.

DeBlois was previously nominated for Oscars for 2011's "How to Train Your Dragon" and the 2015 sequel. He shares the nomination this year with producers Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold.

Other contenders for best animated feature are "I Lost My Body," "Klaus," "Toy Story 4" and "Missing Link," which also has a Canadian connection. Vancouver Trevor Dalmer was art director on "Missing Link," however he isn't named in the Oscar nomination.

Meanwhile, sound expert Paul Massey, who spent his early career in Toronto, is in the running for best sound mixing on "Ford v Ferrari." His co-nominees are American sound pros David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow.

"Ford v Ferrari" is a biographical drama starring Matt Damon as American car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as British driver Ken Miles.

This is the ninth Oscar nomination for Massey, who was born in England and moved to Toronto at age 19 to work in the music business. He moved to Los Angeles to work in film 13 years later.

Last year Massey won the Oscar for his work on "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The other films nominated in Massey's category are "Ad Astra," "Joker," "1917" and "Once upon a Time...in Hollywood."

Speaking of "1917" — Vancouver-born Dennis Gassner got a nod for best production design for that film. He shares the nomination with set decorator Lee Sandales.

This is Gassner's seventh Oscar nod. He won the honour in 1992 for "Bugsy," and was last nominated in 2018 for "Blade Runner 2049," directed by Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.

His competition this year includes the films "The Irishman," "Jojo Rabbit," "Once upon a Time...in Hollywood" and "Parasite."

Sami Khan, who was born in Sarnia, Ont., is nominated as co-director on "St. Louis Superman," which is up for best documentary short.

And Montreal-based, Tunisian-born filmmaker Meryam Joobeur will also be representing Canada, in the category of best live action short for "Brotherhood."

The film is about a Tunisian shepherd who faces a dilemma when his estranged eldest son returns home from Syria with a mysterious young wife.

It's a co-production between Tunisia, Canada, Qatar and Sweden.

Joobeur's previous films include the 2012 documentary short "Gods, Weeds and Revolutions," about a young woman who returns to Tunisia and deals with her grandfather's Alzheimer's.

Her 2017 short fiction film, "Born in the Maelstrom," follows a young biracial woman as she struggles to find her identity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.

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