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Memorable awards season for Canadian crew of 'The Shape of Water'

Last Updated Mar 2, 2018 at 2:12 pm EDT

Cast members Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins in "The Shape of Water," which was released in 2017. TM & © Fox Searchlight Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Canada will be well represented at Sunday’s Academy Awards, with many homegrown nominees in contention for The Shape of Water.

Guillermo del Toro’s merman drama has a leading 13 nominations, including best picture for himself and Toronto producer J. Miles Dale.

Canadians who worked on the film are also nominated in categories including costume design, film editing, sound editing, sound mixing, and production design.

Other Canadian Oscar nominees this year include Toronto-born veteran actor Christopher Plummer for his supporting role in All the Money in the World, Vancouver-born production designer Dennis Gassner for Blade Runner 2049, and the animated film The Breadwinner.

For The Shape of Water crew, it’s been a wild ride this awards season with nominations for several other trophies.

Toronto-based Nelson Ferreira, who’s a contender for best sound editing with fellow Canadian Nathan Robitaille, recalls a surreal moment at the Oscars luncheon when he asked to take a photo with The Shape of Water co-star Richard Jenkins.

“I’m clumsily trying to get a selfie going, and to my left it’s like, ‘Hey, do you want me to take the photo?’ and I look and it’s Meryl Streep offering to take the photo,” Ferreira says.

“I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, I guess, but I don’t want to tell people that you took the photo. I’d rather you be in the photo.’ She’s like, ‘That’s probably a good idea.’ So she got in the photo too.”

Meanwhile, Oscar-nominated Lady Bird writer-director Greta Gerwig told him and Robitaille “how much she loved the sound on our film.”

Then there was the Oscars 2018 class photo.

“Everyone is applauding and Willem Dafoe is behind me clapping and hitting the back of my head as he claps, and I look up and Meryl Streep is two people behind me and Steven Spielberg is over there and Guillermo is over there,” Ferreira says.

“I tried to get Nathan’s eye, because he wasn’t standing beside me, just to look at him and say: ‘Can you believe this? This is crazy.'”

Toronto-based Brad Zoern, who’s nominated for best sound mixing alongside Christian Cooke and Glen Gauthier, recalls taking a 25-minute car ride with Bryan Cranston and his wife at the British Academy Film Awards.

Zoern says it happened when organizers put him and his wife in a shuttle car between the awards gala and the reception.

“We just talked about our kids and talked like normal people,” Zoern recalls.

“It was really special. He and his wife were super nice, down-to-Earth people, and the whole time we had paparazzi running beside the car trying to get Bryan to roll down his window to sign autographs. It was kind of surreal.”