Oscar competition kicks off, and has a local connection

Competition officially kicked-off today for best movie of the year.

The nine nominees for best picture and all the other potential award winners for this year's Academy Awards were unveiled this morning.

The 3D space odyssey Gravity and con-artist comedy-drama American Hustle are the top contenders, with 10 nominations apiece. Just behind those two is the drama 12 Years a Slave, which picked up nine nominations. The 86th Academy Awards will be held on March 2 on the main CTV network. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will host the event for the second time.

Some Canadians are in the running for Oscar hardware.  Montreal's Martin Pensa shares a nomination with John Mac McMurphy for their work on the HIV drama Dallas Buyers Club.

And the movie Her scored a nomination for Canadians Owen Pallett and Arcade Fire member Will Butler for best original score.

And here at home, CTV Barrie boast its own Oscar contender

“I shrieked like a little girl, and I think I scared my son,” says CTV Barrie sports anchor Alastair Connolly.

Connolly will be heading to the Oscars. He’s part owner of a film company that produced short film The Voorman Problem, which features actor Martin Freeman.

The film has been nominated in the short film live action category.

“It's a 13-minute film and the story centres around a physician called Voorman who claims to be god,” Connolly says. “Martin Freeman, who you may know from the Hobbit, plays the role of the psychiatrist sent into the prison to interview Voorman to determine medically what exactly those issues are.”

The film has been five years in the making, and qualified for the Oscars by winning the St. Louis International Film Festival in November.  

“To see it on a list alongside the movies that have been nominated for the rest of the Oscars this year, it's been stupendous,” Connolly says.

Once the thrill of the nomination sets in, attention turns to the red carpet and fashion.

“At this point I think I am the producer's plus-one, so I will be investing in a nice frock and strolling down the red carpet on his arm,” Connolly says.

If he's looking for help, consultants in Barrie already have some ideas for his Oscar style.

“The most classic look is probably a James Bond look,” says Andrew Douglas at Collins Formal Wear. “A nice classic notch label, plain collar, and two or three buttons on the front. Maybe a bowtie, a cummerbund. That’s your most classic look.

“If he really wants to go all out, something that says hey look at me, he could go for … a camouflage vest. Camo is available in three different styles, you can get it with a bowtie, with a long tie, and you can even get it as a cummerbund.”

Then there's the hairstyle.

“I would suggest he gets a Mohawk, do something a little differently,” says Grace Dajo at Connolly’s barber shop A Man's Zone. “He's always used to staying on the same straight and narrow but I think different on the red carpet is big.”

Of course before he gets all dolled up, Connolly has to get the time off from the CTV Barrie boss.

“Will Alastair be getting me Bradley Cooper's autograph?” jokes news director Ruth Anderson.

The Oscars will be awarded March 2, and they’ll air on CTV.