The Envelope, Please! And the Winner is … Toronto!

Hooray for Hollywood! Hooray for Former Corktown Composer Stephan Moccio! Hooray for Bridgepoint Hospital and “Room”!


CORKTOWN CRED: Academy Award nominee — and former Corktown resident — Stephan Moccio. Photo courtesy

By Dennis Kucherawy,

Stephan Moccio, former Corktown resident and hit pop composer, is just one of several Canadians who got a sprinkling of stardust on Thursday, January 14 when he received a Best Song Oscar nomination for co-writing “Earned It,” a song from the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

And Toronto got further tinsel town glory when the critically and publicly acclaimed movie “Room,” shot here in November/December 2014, received four nominations including Best Picture.

Significantly, several important scenes in this Irish-Canadian production were filmed in Bridgepoint Hospital in nearby Riverdale with Hollywood stars likr Oscar nominee William H. Macy and Brie Larson, who won a Golden Globe for her performance earlier this month. (The movie also stars child actor Jacob Tremblay, a newcomer from Vancouver, and Stratford veteran Canadian Tom McCamus.)

Stephan Moccio, a former resident of 90 Sumach Street (the condos in the former CBC building) now splits his time living between Toronto’s Beach district and California. Born in St. Catharines and raised in Niagara Falls, he is best known for co-writing, with Aldo Nova, Celine Dion’s hit “A New Day Has Come,” Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and “I Believe” for Nikki Yanofsky, the ubiquitous anthem for CTV’s Vancouver Winter Games’ coverage.

He co-wrote “Earned It” with Toronto rap star The Weeknd, another local, born in Toronto and raised in Scarborough. His real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye and he is of Ethiopian descent. Moccio’s father is Italian-Canadian and his mother is French-Canadian.

They have tough competition in the category with Lady Gaga and Sam Smith. She wrote “’Til It Happens to You” with veteran composer Dianne Warren for the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On the Wall,” the Golden Globe winning theme from the James Bond movie “Spectre,” is regarded as the one to beat.

The story in the movie “Room” is set in Ohio, but what you see is undeniably Toronto. Visible through a window in one particular scene that takes place in one of Bridgepoint Hospital’s wards is a panoramic vista of the Don Valley, the Bloor Viaduct, Riverdale Park and Cabbagetown with its many trees.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, who now lives in London, Ontario, “Room” is a dramatic thriller about a young woman who has been held captive in a small, enclosed space with her young son for years and their efforts to escape so, in part, the boy can experience the world for the first time.

“Room” is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (for Larson) and Best Adapted screenplay.

Winner last fall of the Toronto International Film Festival’s People Choice Awards, “Room” has received many awards and nominations including Best Canadian film, Best Actress and Best Screenplay at the recent Vancouver Film Critics’ awards. It’s a favorite at the upcoming Screen Actors’ Guild awards and BAFTA in the UK.

The Oscars will be telecast on Sunday, February 28.

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