Domee Shi couldn’t be more excited about the Oscars.
On Tuesday, the Canadian filmmaker’s “Turning Red” was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, and ET Canada’s Morgan Hoffman caught up with the director to get her reaction.
“I want to run around, jump in the air… Been a crazy morning,” Shi said.
Asked if she was watching Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams announce the nominations, Shi said, “No. I was too scared, I was too nervous. I think I started this trend where four years ago, when [my short film] ‘Bao’ was nominated for an Oscar, I didn’t watch that as well because I was too nervous. I didn’t want to jinx it. So now I feel like I started this trend, and I don’t want to break tradition and jinx it in some way.
The director continued, “And it’s also just so anxiety-inducing when they read the names very slowly. I think I was going to have a heart attack if I watched that live. So I just like put my phone by my bed and I relied on friends and family texting or calling me in the morning to wait to wake me up. And that’s what happened.”
Asked if anyone from the voice cast got in touch to celebrate, Shi said, “I got a text from Sandra Oh, and I got a DM from my Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. It’s just so great for them too, because this is such an Asian Canadian movie. And to be able to make it with such amazing Canadian actresses, it was just so special.”
“Turning Red” is set in Toronto, which was very important for Shi, who grew up in the city.
“I’m so happy for Toronto that it gets celebrated on the big stage as Toronto, and not disguised as New York City or Chicago or some other random American city.”
She continued, “That was like one of my favourite parts about making this movie, was to revisit the old neighbourhoods that I used to visit all the time. As a kid, me and my parents would shop at Chinatown at Kensington Market, and to be able to recreate the Skydome as the Skydome and not the Rogers Center, and the CN Tower as well. These landmarks and these staples of my childhood, just putting on a big screen for everyone to enjoy and experience is just incredible.”
Talking about her inspiration behind the film, Shi said, “This story about this Chinese-Canadian girl going through magical puberty, getting into huge, larger than life fights with her mom, dealing with the messiness and embarrassment of growing up. I just really wanted to make this movie for my 13-year-old self and for everyone’s 13-year-old selves.”
She added that the nomination is “like the glitzy cherry on top of an already amazing sundae.”
As for whether she will be popping open some Champagne to celebrate, Shi laughed, “Not as much as last time. Last time I went a little too crazy, a little too quickly. And at this time, I will pace it out. Like Champagne, water. Champagne, water.”