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Film based on Simcoe author's book gets Oscar nod

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

The Breadwinner, based on a book by Simcoe author Deborah Ellis, has been nominated for an Academy Award. (Supplied photo)

The Breadwinner, based on a book by Simcoe author Deborah Ellis, has been nominated for an Academy Award. (Supplied photo)

The Breadwinner, an animated movie based on the book by Simcoe author Deborah Ellis, has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Nominations for the 90th annual Oscars were announced Tuesday morning, with The Breadwinner getting the nod in the animated feature category.

“You always hope for the good things and today it happened,” Ellis said in a phone interview.

First published in 2000, The Breadwinner is one of a number of popular Ellis novels. It features an 11-year-old girl living in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family. The book has been published in 25 languages and earned more than $1 million in royalties for both Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International.

In 2016, Jolie Pas, a production company owned by actress Angelia Jolie, purchased The Breadwinner's movie rights. The 94-minute film directed by Nora Twomey debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.

“I'm just so thrilled for the people that made the film,” Ellis said. “They worked so hard to bring it about and to make something so wonderful. I can't wait to see them down there, that's going to be great.”

Ellis, who was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2016, won't travel to Los Angeles for the March 4 event. In February of last year, Ellis announced publicly she would not travel south of the 49th after the U.S. government attempted to implement sanctions to restrict immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations.

“I've written about what happens to refugees after the war,” Ellis said last February. “I've written about their lives, I've met with folks in refugee camps. It just doesn't make sense for me to do anything that would further my own personal career or enjoyment when they are unable to do so simply because they're refugees or because they're Muslim.”

That's not to say Ellis won't be watching the awards, cheering on Twomey and her team. The other films nominated for best animated feature include The Boss Baby, Coco, Ferdinand and Loving Vincent.

“I won't go, but that doesn't matter, I'm just so happy for the people who made the film,” said Ellis. “It's going to be a great night.”

Norfolk residents will get a chance to enjoy The Breadwinner next month. The film will be shown at The Strand Theatre in Simcoe Feb. 11, 12, 18 and 19. Show times are available at strandtheatre.ca.

jrobinson@postmedia.com