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Denis Villeneuve (French: [dəni vilnœv]; born October 3, 1967) is a Canadian film director and writer. He is a four-time recipient of the Canadian Screen Award (formerly Genie Award) for Best Direction, for Maelström in 2001, Polytechnique in 2010,[1] Incendies in 2011, and Enemy in 2013.[2] The first three films also won the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Motion Picture.

Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Villeneuve at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1967-10-03) October 3, 1967 (age 49)
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Tanya Lapointe

Internationally, he is best known for his critically acclaimed crime-thriller films, including Prisoners (2013) and Sicario (2015), and the science fiction drama Arrival (2016), the latter of which received 8 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.


Personal lifeEdit

Villeneuve was born on October 3, 1967 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, the son of Nicole Demers and Jean Villeneuve.[3] He studied at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is married to cultural reporter Tanya Lapointe and has three children from a previous relationship.[4] He is the older brother of filmmaker Martin Villeneuve.[5]


Villeneuve began his career making short films and won the Radio-Canada's youth film competition La Course Europe-Asie in 1990–91.[6]


Villeneuve first caught attention for his 2001 film Maelström which screened at festivals worldwide, winning eight Jutra Awards and 'Best Canadian Film' from the Toronto International Film Festival. He followed that up with the controversial, but critically acclaimed film Polytechnique (2009) about the shootings that occurred at the Montreal university.

Villeneuve's Incendies (2010) received critical acclaim after it premiered at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals in 2010. Incendies was subsequently chosen to represent Canada at the 83rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Film[7] and was eventually nominated for the award.[8]

Villeneuve with Hugh Jackman, Kira Davis and Melissa Leo in 2013

The film went on to win eight awards at the 31st Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Direction, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Overall Sound, and Sound Editing.[9] Incendies was named by The New York Times as one of the '10 Best Films of 2011.'[10]

In January 2011, he was selected by Variety as one of the top ten filmmakers to watch.[11] Also in 2011, Villeneuve's work was recognized at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, and the National Arts Centre Award.[12]

Villeneuve at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival

Villeneuve followed Incendies with the popular film Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film screened at festivals across the globe, won several awards, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 2014.[13] Prisoners is currently ranked No. 220 on IMDb's 'Top 250 Films of All Time' list, which is ranked by popular vote.[14]

Following the success of Incendies and Prisoners, Villeneuve won Best Director for his next film, the mind thriller Enemy (2013), at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards. The film also won the $100,000 cash prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association for 'Best Canadian Film of the Year' in 2015.[15]

Villeneuve directed the crime thriller film Sicario, scripted by Taylor Sheridan,[16] and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin.[17] The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[18] It screened to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and went on to become a commercial success, grossing nearly $80 million worldwide.[19]

Villeneuve next directed the film Arrival, based on the short story Story of Your Life by author Ted Chiang, from an adapted script by Eric Heisserer,[20] with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner starring.[21] Principal photography began on June 7, 2015 in Montreal, and the film was released in 2016.[22]

In February 2015, it was announced that Villeneuve would direct Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982).[23] Harrison Ford will reprise his role alongside Ryan Gosling, and it will take place several decades after the original. Scott will executive produce the film for Warner Bros.[24][25] It will be released on October 6, 2017.[26]

Villeneuve is set to direct the adaptation of Jo Nesbø's crime novel The Son.[27]

Villeneuve is set to direct a new film adaptation to the novel Dune for Legendary Pictures.[28]


Year Film Type Additional roles Other notes
1988 La Course Destination Monde Documentary
1994 REW-FFWD Short Screenwriter [29]
1996 Cosmos Feature Screenwriter One segment in anthology
1998 August 32nd on Earth Feature Screenwriter
2000 Maelström Feature Screenwriter
2008 Next Floor Short
2009 Polytechnique Feature Screenwriter
2010 Incendies Feature Nominated—Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
2013 Prisoners Feature
Enemy Feature
2015 Sicario Feature
2016 Arrival Feature Nominated—Academy Award for Best Director
2017 Blade Runner 2049[30] Feature Post-production
TBA Dune[31] Feature In development


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2011 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film Incendies Nominated
Atlantic Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Won
Genie Awards Best Direction Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Jutra Awards Best Direction Won
Best Screenplay Won
Toronto International Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Film Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director of a Canadian Film Won
Vancouver International Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Film Won
2012 British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
2013 National Board of Review Top Ten Films Prisoners Won
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Awards 3rd Place
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Nominated
Empire Awards Best Thriller Nominated
Abu Dhabi Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Enemy Nominated
Canadian Screen Awards Best Director Won
Directors Guild of Canada Feature Film Won
2015 Jutra Awards Best Director Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director of a Canadian Film Won
National Board of Review Top Ten Films Sicario Won
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Director 5th Place
Online Film Critics Society Best Director Nominated
2016 Satellite Awards Best Film Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Director Arrival Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Best Director Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Director Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Director 5th Place
IndieWire Critics Poll Best Director 7th Place
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Director Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Director Runner-up[a]
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director Nominated
Venice Film Festival Future Film Festival Digital Award Won
Golden Lion Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Director Nominated
2017 AACTA International Awards Best Direction Nominated
Academy Awards Best Director Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Direction Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society Best Director Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Director Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Director Nominated
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Won



  1. ^ "Polytechnique sweeps Genie Awards". Toronto Star, April 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "Villeneuve’s Incendies wins eight Genies, including best picture". The Globe and Mail, March 10, 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Buckley, Cara (2016-11-10). "Denis Villeneuve of ‘Arrival’ Leans In to Strong Heroines". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  5. ^ Martin Villeneuve: The Dreammaker, The Cozy Sweater Café, August 23, 2016
  6. ^
  7. ^ Vlessing, Etan (September 22, 2010). "Canada picks 'Incendies' to vie for Oscar". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  8. ^ "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Genie Awards: It's "Incendies" and the Red Carpet – Blog – The Film Experience". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  10. ^ Holden, Stephen (December 14, 2011). "2011 Films: ‘Melancholia,’ ‘Tree of Life,’ ‘Moneyball’". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  11. ^ "Variety taps Canadians among directors to watch". CBC News. January 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ Villeneuve, Denis. "Denis Villeneuve, 2011 National Arts Centre Award". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  13. ^ "11-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins talks 'Prisoners' and the upcoming 'Unbroken'". HitFix. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  14. ^ "Prisoners". IMDb. 
  15. ^ "Villeneuve's Enemy wins $100,000 Toronto critics' prize for best Canadian film of 2014". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  16. ^ "Denis Villeneuve in Talks To Direct Mexican Crime Drama Sicario for Black Flag". December 6, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Josh Brolin to Star Opposite Emily Blunt in Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario'". May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Sicario (2015) – Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  20. ^ "Cannes: Paramount Confirms ‘Story Of Your Life’ Acquisition; $20 Million Is Fest Record Deal". Deadline. May 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Jeremy Renner Joins Amy Adams in Sci-Fi 'Story of Your Life'". The Hollywood Reporter. March 6, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner spotted in Montreal as Hollywood filming heats up". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  23. ^ "'Blade Runner' Sequel Has Found Its Director!". February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Denis Villeneuve in Talks to Direct 'Blade Runner' Sequel". February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  25. ^ "'Blade Runner' sequel concept art: See a first look". 2016-07-15. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  26. ^ Busch, Anita (2016-10-06). "‘Blade Runner’ Sequel Finally Has A Title, Will Offer VR Experiences For Film Through Oculus – Update". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  27. ^ McNary, Dave (May 26, 2016). "Jake Gyllenhaal, Denis Villeneuve to Reunite for Crime Drama ‘The Son’". Variety. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  28. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 21, 2016). "Blade Runner 2049 Helmer Denis Villeneuve Eyed to Direct Dune Reboot". Variety. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  29. ^ "REW-FFWD" (Online film). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Harrison Ford to Return for 'Blade Runner' Sequel Directed by Denis Villeneuve" (Online article). Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2015. 
  31. ^

External linksEdit