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Runners move head past Oscars statues already in place for the 2022 Academy Awards along Hollywood Blvd., during the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon, in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 20, 2022. It's a big night for Canadian Oscar nominees competing in categories including production design, documentary film and makeup and hairstyling. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-The Orange County Register, David CraneDavid Crane/The Associated Press

Canadians made a strong showing at the Oscars on Sunday night, with early wins going to director Ben Proudfoot and production designer Patrice Vermette.

Halifax’s Proudfoot picked up a win for best documentary short subject with his film “The Queen of Basketball,” about Lucy Harris, the only woman to be drafted by the NBA.

“This proves that Lucy Harris’ story, after 45 years of being ignored, does indeed mean something profound to America and the world,” Proudfoot, who was previously nominated in 2021 for “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” told The Canadian Press when reached by text at the bash.

“From a quiet town in Mississippi to the world stage, Lucy Harris, The Queen of Basketball, has always and will always belong at the top. Her’s is a record that will never be broken.”

Vermette, meanwhile, won for best production design for Montreal director Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” which received the second most nominations with 10. The film won four in the pre-telecast.

He shares his win with Hungarian set decorator Zsuzsanna Sipos, and was previously nominated for 2010’s “The Young Victoria” and 2017’s “Arrival,” also directed by Villeneuve.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the early wins on Twitter, but footage of the presentations and acceptance speeches were held for an edited version that was set to air later Sunday as part of the live ABC/CTV telecast.

The new format saw early trophies handed out in eight categories, half of them including Canadians: documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short, and sound.

Simu Liu, one of three Canadians set to present on the telecast as well as Elliot Page and Shawn Mendes, shone bright in red on the red carpet, while “Dune” stars Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet wowed fans with their looks — her in a silk half-shirt and matching silver skirt, and him in a shirtless Louis Vuitton ensemble.

Canadians chasing Oscars at the live event included Villeneuve, who was up for best adapted screenplay and best picture for “Dune.”

Montreal-based producer Roger Frappier was also up for best picture alongside director Jane Campion and the team for “The Power of the Dog,” which led overall with 12 nominations.

The top race also included Toronto producer J. Miles Dale as part of the team behind “Nightmare Alley,” along with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro and actor/producer Bradley Cooper. Toronto’s Luis Sequeira was up for best costume design.

Other Canadian contenders who lost out in the pre-telecast included Saskatoon’s Tamara Deverell and Halifax’s Shane Vieau, who shared a nomination for best production design on “Nightmare Alley” and “Dune” makeup artist Donald Mowat of Montreal. The National Film Board’s Canada/U.K. co-production “Affairs of the Art” lost out in the animated short category.

In a statement in the days leading up to the show, the NFB had strong words for the change, predicting it “will serve to further marginalize short films, which already struggle to find large audiences.”

The academy has said the change was meant to keep the three-hour broadcast “tighter and more electric” for viewers, but it drew intense criticism from many in the film community, including Proudfoot who has said the move “debases certain categories.”

Proudfoot faced off against Toronto producer Geoff McLean in the documentary short category.