Canadian Writer & Director Wins First Emmy for ‘Big Little Lies’

Writer and director Jean-Marc Vallée won his first Emmy Award on Sunday night for HBO’s critically acclaimed “Big Little Lies.” The Montreal native is the director and executive producer of the miniseries.

Vallée took home the Emmy for Outstanding Director for a Limited Series, beating Noah Hawley (“Fargo”), Ryan Murphy (“FEUD”), Ron Howard (“Genius”), James Marsh (“The Night of”), and Steven Zaillian (“The Night Of”).

Other “Big Little Lies” winners included Nicole Kidman for Outstanding Lead Actress, Laura Dern for Outstanding Supporting Actress, and Alexander Skarsgard for Outstanding Supporting Actor. The series received 16 nominations in total, including nods for Canadian cinematographer Yves Bélanger and sound mixers Gavin Fernandes and Louis Gignac.

The miniseries is based on the book by Liane Moriarty and centers on three mothers and their involvement in a murder.

Kidman complimented Vallée’s “passion and artistry” during her acceptance speech. Dern, who also earned her first Emmy Award on Sunday, commented to reporters that working with the director was like “doing a little dance” every day. She also revealed that Vallée was great on set because he was “gender blind” and treated everyone the same, regardless of their sex.

According to actress Reese Witherspoon, executive producer of “Big Little Lies,” Vallée was only scheduled to direct a few episodes of the series, but she and others “attacked him and begged him to do more.” She told the Toronto Star: “I’ve never worked with a director who felt the performances, who will sit and cry with you about what your character is feeling, is there with you.”

Vallée, who studied film at the Université du Québec à Montréal, has an impressive resume. His first full-length feature film, 1995’s “Liste noire” (“Black List”), was the highest grossing film of the year in Canada. His 2005 film “C.R.A.Z.Y” was given a 100 percent fresh rating on the film review website Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for 45 awards and won 38 of them. That drew the attention of filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who tapped him to direct “The Young Victoria” (2009), for which Vallée received an Oscar nomination. He also received Academy Award nominations for “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013) and “Wild” (2015).

Vallée is currently working on the HBO series “Sharp Objects,” starring Amy Adams. The series is based on the book of the same name and centers on a reporter who returns home to cover a murder case.

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