Trent University honorary degree recipient Dr. Sarah Polley has earned her first Oscar, taking home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film Women Talking. Dr. Polley celebrated the win at the 95th annual Academy Awards held March 12 in Los Angeles.
An award-winning actress and film director, Dr. Polley first made a name for herself as a child actress, appearing in the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and in a lead role in the popular television series Road to Avonlea. Throughout her career, Dr. Polley has been committed to making films with social importance. She has appeared in 54 television series and feature films, including The Sweet Hereafter, Guinevere, Go, The Secret Life of Words, and My Life Without Me.
In 1999, Dr. Polley released her first short film, The Best Day of My Life, setting the stage for several critically successful shorts. In 2008, she was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for Away from Her, her first feature film, based on a short story by Alice Munro. That year, she also became the first woman to receive a Genie Award for direction. The movie also won the Best Feature Film award from the Director's Guild of Canada and The Writer's Guild of Canada as well as numerous critics’ prizes throughout the world.
Other career highlights include writing and directing the feature Take This Waltz starring Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Seth Rogen, and Sarah Silverman, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011; and writing/producing the six-part 2017 mini-series Alias Grace, based on the bestselling Margaret Atwood novel.
Women Talking is a 2022 drama film written and directed by Dr. Polley, based on the 2018 Miriam Toews novel of the same name. The film is inspired by real-life events that occurred at the Manitoba Colony, a remote and isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia and features an ensemble cast including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, and Frances McDormand.
Dr. Polley was awarded an honorary degree – Trent's highest honour – at University’s 2009 Convocation ceremonies. She also has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.