Jean-Marc Vallée

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Jean-Marc Vallée

Vallée at the 2012 Genie Awards
Born(1963-03-09)March 9, 1963
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedDecember 25, 2021(2021-12-25) (aged 58)
Alma mater
  • Film director
  • editor
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1985–2021
Chantal Cadieux
(m. 1990; div. 2006)

Jean-Marc Vallée OC OQ (March 9, 1963 – December 25, 2021)[1] was a Canadian filmmaker, film editor, and screenwriter. After studying film at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Vallée went on to make a number of critically acclaimed short films, including Stéréotypes (1991), Les Fleurs magiques (1995), and Les Mots magiques (1998).

His debut feature, Black List (1995), was nominated for nine Genie Awards, including nods for Vallée's direction and editing. His fourth feature film, C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005), received further critical acclaim and was a financial success. Due to Vallée's perfectionism, and the tight budget, the film took almost ten years to make.[2] Vallée's follow-up, The Young Victoria (2009), garnered strong reviews and received three Academy Award nominations. He was offered this film by producer Graham King, who was impressed by C.R.A.Z.Y. and wanted Vallée to make something similar. Vallée was initially unsure about accepting this offer, as he didn't much care about period films, or the British monarchy. However, his love for a cinematic challenge won out, and he researched Queen Victoria in great depth before starting the film.[2] His sixth film, Café de Flore (2011), was the most nominated film at the 32nd Genie Awards. Vallée's next films, the American dramas Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Wild (2014) continued this acclaim and the former earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Director's Branch from 2014 until his death in 2021.[3]

He was known for his naturalistic approach to filming, encouraging actors to improvise during takes, and used natural lighting and handheld cameras. He described himself as being like "a kid on a set. A kid playing with a huge toy and having fun".[2]

Vallée ventured into television by executive producing and directing two projects for HBO, the drama series Big Little Lies (2017) and the thriller miniseries Sharp Objects (2018). For the former, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

Early life[edit]

Vallée was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, one of four children.[4][5] He studied filmmaking at the Collège Ahuntsic and the Université du Québec à Montréal.[4][2]


1980s: Music videos and short films[edit]

Vallée's earliest-known works include five music videos written and directed in August 1985.[6] The music videos were part of a project by Les Productions Perfo 30 to produce 30 music videos in 30 days for a total budget of not over $50,000 CAD. Les Productions Perfo 30 had been founded earlier that year in May 1985 by André Fortin, Martin-Éric Ouellette and Martin Saint-Pierre, and wound up producing a total of 32 music videos, all directed during the month of August, with editing spanning September and October.[7][8] Vallée was one of four directors (along with Fortin, Ouellette and Claude Grégoire) to helm directorial duties. His music videos included Wild Touch's My Chick Is In My Bed, Glockenspiel's Odeline, Park Avenue's Don't Talk To Strangers, Angel's Angel's Evolution and New News' The Splice Of Life.[7] The music videos premiered theatrically at the Spectrum in Montreal on November 1, 1985, for a limited press screening, then officially on November 9, 1985, for the general public.[9] The music videos later aired on Canadian television through MuchMusic.[7]

In the 1990s, Vallée produced a number of short films that aroused considerable critical interest.[10] In 1991, Stereotypes, a fantastique comedy inspired by some American classic films, received numerous prizes at several events, including Best Promising Director for Vallée at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois.[11]

Vallée later adopted a more personal and autobiographical tone with Magical Flowers (Les Fleurs magiques) (1995) and Magical Words (Les Mots magiques) (1998), awarded respectively Best Short Film at the 16th Genie Awards and the 1st Jutra Awards, in which the director explored the relationship between father and son.[10]

1995–2005: Directorial film debut[edit]

Vallée made his feature-length debut in 1995 with Liste noire (Black List), which became the highest-grossing film in Quebec that year and received nine Genie Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture and Best Achievement in Direction.[12] In the wake of this success, Vallée moved to Los Angeles where he directed Los Locos (1998), a Western film written by and starring Mario Van Peebles, and Loser Love (1999).[12] After these two low-budget productions, he directed two episodes of the television series The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (2000).[2]

During the mid-1990s, Vallée was preparing C.R.A.Z.Y. from a screenplay inspired by his own youth and that of his co-writer, François Boulay. Vallée wanted to shoot the film in the United States, but his friend Michel Côté, who also starred in Black List, convinced him to shoot in Quebec.[4] After ten years in production, C.R.A.Z.Y. was finally released in 2005 and became one of the most successful films in Quebec history, both financially and critically.[13]

It tells the story of Zachary Beaulieu, a young man dealing with homophobia and heterosexism while growing up with four brothers and a conservative father in 1960s and 1970s Quebec. The role of Zachary Beaulieu was portrayed by Marc-André Grondin, while Michel Côté and Danielle Proulx starred as Zachary's parents. C.R.A.Z.Y. had its world premiere at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and was awarded Best Canadian Feature Film.[14] It received unanimous praise from film critics, with the film aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, giving the film a 100% "Certified Fresh" rating, based on reviews from 31 critics.[15] It received several accolades, including eleven Genie Awards and thirteen Jutra Awards.[14] C.R.A.Z.Y. was also selected as Canada's official submission for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[16]

2009–2015: Established career[edit]

The Young Victoria (2009)

After the success of C.R.A.Z.Y., Graham King and Martin Scorsese hired Jean-Marc Vallée to direct the period drama The Young Victoria.[17] Written by Julian Fellowes, the film is based on the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, and her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The film stars Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, and Jim Broadbent among a large ensemble cast. Critical reception was generally positive and the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning the 2009 Academy Award for Best Costume Design.[18]

Café de Flore (2011)

In 2011, Vallée wrote, directed, and edited Café de Flore, a love story which connects a man and woman living in present-day Montreal with a mother and her son in 1960s Paris.[19][20] The film starred French pop star Vanessa Paradis and Québécois actors Kevin Parent, Hélène Florent, and Evelyne Brochu. It received generally positive reviews from Canadian film critics and garnered thirteen nominations at the 32nd Genie Awards.[21] American reviews were more mixed; Variety's Boyd van Hoeij saluted the film's casting, but deemed Café de Flore unoriginal, noting that "Vallée has taken what made C.R.A.Z.Y so successful, and simply tried to replicate it on a slightly larger scale. [Occasionally] similarities between the films... are so striking it almost feels like Vallée's ripping himself off".[22]

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Vallée's next film, Dallas Buyers Club, starred Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner.[23] The film is based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, an electrician in Texas diagnosed with AIDS and given 30 days to live, who began smuggling alternative medicine and not-yet-approved drugs into the United States to help himself and other AIDS patients.[2] The film was released in 2013 to critical acclaim, earning Matthew McConaughey the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and Jared Leto a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and won the awards for Best Actor for McConaughey, and Best Supporting Actor for Leto. Vallée also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing under his alias, John Mac McMurphy.[24]

Wild (2014)

Vallée's film Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, premiered on August 29, 2014, at the Telluride Film Festival, and was also featured at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8 and the San Diego Film Festival on September 24.[25] It was released in North America on December 5, 2014.[26] The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Actress for Reese Witherspoon, and Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern.[27]

In May 2015, Vallée received the National Arts Centre Award, a companion award of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, given to an artist in recognition of work of an extraordinary nature over the previous performance year.[28]

Demolition (2015)

Vallée's next film, Demolition (2015), starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, and opened the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2015.[29]

2017–2019: HBO limited series[edit]

Big Little Lies (2017–2019)

In 2017, he directed and executive-produced the acclaimed HBO miniseries Big Little Lies, winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special.[30]

Sharp Objects (2018)

Vallée also directed and executive-produced all the episodes of Sharp Objects for HBO in 2018.[31] The series was based on the novel by Gillian Flynn. In April 2021, he and Nathan Ross via Crazyrose signed a deal with HBO and HBO Max.[32]

Unfinished projects

Prior to his death, Vallée was set to direct the HBO miniseries Gorilla and the Bird.[33]

Personal life and death[edit]

Vallée was married to Chantal Cadieux from 1990 until their divorce in 2006. They had two sons, Alex and Émile. Vallée was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) in 2017,[34] and an officer in the National Order of Quebec (OQ) in 2020.[35][36] His son with Cadieux, Émile, played the part of Young Zachary in his 2005 film, C.R.A.Z.Y.[2]

On December 25, 2021 Vallée died at the age of 58 from a cardiac arrhythmia secondary to severe atherosclerosis. He was found at his chalet in Berthier-sur-Mer, Quebec.[Note 1]

Following his death, the Directors Guild of Canada renamed its DGC Discovery Award for emerging filmmakers to the Jean-Marc Vallée DGC Discovery Award in his memory,[43] and filmmaker Marie-Julie Dallaire announced the production of Cut Print Thank You Bye, a documentary film about Vallée's life and career.[44]


Short films

Year Title Director Writer Executive
1991 Stereotypes (Stéréotypes) Yes No No Yes
1995 Magical Flowers (Les Fleurs magiques) Yes Yes No Yes
1998 Magical Words (Les Mots magiques) Yes Yes No No
2012 Little Pig No No Yes No

Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Editor
1995 Black List Yes No No Yes
1997 Los Locos Yes No No Yes
1999 Loser Love Yes No No Yes
2005 C.R.A.Z.Y. Yes Yes Yes No
2009 The Young Victoria Yes No No No
2011 Café de Flore Yes Yes Yes Yes
2013 Dallas Buyers Club Yes No No Yes
2014 Wild Yes No No Yes
2015 Demolition Yes No No Yes


Year Title Director Executive
Editor Notes
2017–2019 Big Little Lies Season 1 Yes Yes 2 seasons
2018 Sharp Objects Yes Yes Yes 8 episodes
TBA Lady in the Lake No Yes No Posthumous release

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations received by Vallée's films
Year Title Academy Awards BAFTA Awards Golden Globe Awards
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
2009 The Young Victoria 3 1 2 2 1
2013 Dallas Buyers Club 6 3 2 2
2014 Wild 2 1 1
Total 11 4 3 2 4 2
Year Award Category Work Result
1993 Genie Award Best Live Action Short Drama Stereotypes (Stéréotypes) Nominated
1996 Best Director Black List (Liste noire) Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
1999 Jutra Award Best Live Action Short Film Magical Words (Les mots magiques) Won
2006 Genie Award Best Motion Picture C.R.A.Z.Y. Won
Best Director Won
Best Original Screenplay Won
2006 Jutra Awards Best Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Won
Billet d'or Won
Most Successful Film Outside Quebec Won
2007 Won
2012 Genie Award Best Motion Picture Café de Flore Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2012 Jutra Awards Best Director Nominated
Most Successful Film Outside Quebec Nominated
2013 Academy Award Best Film Editing Dallas Buyers Club Nominated
2017 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited Series Big Little Lies Won
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series Won
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Limited Series Nominated
2019 Outstanding Limited Series Sharp Objects Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Limited Series Nominated

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Vallée's family released a statement on December 31 stating he died on December 25.[37] Earlier reports on his death had been split between December 25 and 26,[38] with Vallée's publicist giving a December 26 date of death to CNN and The Washington Post.[39][40] Additionally, the preliminary coroner report did not determine an exact cause of death, despite reports from his representatives suggesting it was a suspected heart attack.[41] His cause of death being arrhythmia would be revealed on April 13, 2022.[42]


  1. ^ Albeck-Ripka, Livia (December 27, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallée, Director of 'Dallas Buyers Club,' Dies at 58". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Obituary | Jean-Marc Vallée". The Times. January 1, 2022. Archived from the original on January 1, 2022. Retrieved January 1, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Academy Invites 271 to Membership". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. August 21, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Jourdain, Alexandre. "Jean-Marc Vallée : Sa biographie". AlloCiné (in French). Tiger Global. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 26, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallée Has Died; Director Of 'Dallas Buyers Club,' 'Big Little Lies' & 'Sharp Objects' Was 58". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 27, 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  6. ^ "Jean-Marc Vallée". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "With Les Productions Perfo 30 (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "André Fortin". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  9. ^ Wild Touch: My Chick Is in My Bed (Video 1985) - IMDb, retrieved May 3, 2020
  10. ^ a b Czach, Liz. "Jean-Marc Vallée". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  11. ^ "Stéréotypes" (in French). GPA Films. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Jean-Marc Vallée" (in French). Télé-Québec. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  13. ^ Kelly, Brendan (March 20, 2006). "Quebec kudos just 'C.R.A.Z.Y.' for pic". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Jutra judges wild about C.R.A.Z.Y." Postmedia News. March 20, 2006. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  15. ^ "C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  16. ^ "Hoping for Oscar Attention, A Trio of Foreign Language Titles Win Over Audiences". IndieWire. November 9, 2005. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  17. ^ Fox, Chloe (February 4, 2009). "The Young Victoria: we were amused". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 11, 2022. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  18. ^ Tschorn, Adam (March 7, 2010). "'Young Victoria' earns Sandy Powell a third Oscar for costume design". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  19. ^ "Café de Flore (2011) – Cast, crew, director and awards". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  20. ^ French, Philip (May 12, 2012). "Café de Flore – review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  21. ^ Barnard, Linda (January 17, 2012). "'Café de Flore', 'A Dangerous Method' lead Genie Awards race". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  22. ^ van Hoeij, Boyd (2011). Cafe de Flore. Variety: Vol.424(6), pp. 83.
  23. ^ Kit, Borys (November 6, 2012). "Jared Leto Returning to Acting with 'Dallas Buyer's Club'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  24. ^ Lussier, Marc-André (February 25, 2014). "Jean-Marc Vallée aux Oscars alias John Mac McMurphy". La Presse. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  25. ^ McNary, Dave (August 29, 2014). "Reese Witherspoon's 'Wild' to Open San Diego Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  26. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 12, 2014). "Reese Witherspoon-starrer 'Wild' gets a release date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  27. ^ "Academy Awards Search | Wild". Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Retrieved January 1, 2022. Wild - Pacific Standard Production; Fox Searchlight. 2014 (87th) ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE -- Reese Witherspoon {"Cheryl"} - ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Laura Dern {"Bobbi"}
  28. ^ "Jean-Marc Vallée biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  29. ^ "Demolition - Gala Presentations". TIFF. Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  30. ^ "Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries Movie Or A Dramatic Special Nominees / Winners 2017". Television Academy. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  31. ^ Romano, Evan (July 9, 2018). "'Sharp Objects': Jean-Marc Vallée on the Series Premiere and Underdog Storytelling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  32. ^ Petski, Denise (April 6, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallée & Nathan Ross' Crazyrose Inks First-Look Deal With HBO & HBO Max". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  33. ^ Porter, Rick (December 10, 2018). "Jean-Marc Vallee to Direct HBO Limited Series 'Gorilla and the Bird'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  34. ^ "Jean-Marc Vallée Order of Canada Citation". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  35. ^ "L'Ordre national du Québec honorera des personnalités qui ont changé le visage du Québec" (in French). Ordre national du Québec. May 11, 2021.
  36. ^ "Jean-Marc Vallée National Order of Quebec Citation". National Order of Quebec (in French). Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  37. ^ Official statement from the family of Jean-Marc Vallée in relation to his passing
  38. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 27, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallée Dies: Director of Dallas Buyers Club, Big Little Lies & Sharp Objects Was 58; Heart Attack Believed to Be the Cause". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  39. ^ Rose, Andy (December 27, 2021). "'Dallas Buyers Club' director Jean-Marc Vallée dies". CNN. Retrieved December 27, 2021. Acclaimed film director Jean-Marc Vallée -- who helmed the 2013 drama Dallas Buyers Club -- died Sunday near Quebec City, Canada, his production company's publicist told CNN. He was 58 years old.
  40. ^ Andrews, Travis M. (December 26, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallée, naturalistic director known for Dallas Buyers Club and Big Little Lies, dies at 58". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  41. ^ Lewis, Hilary (December 31, 2021). "Jean-Marc Vallee Family: Preliminary Coroner's Report Shows Death Not Caused by "Intervention of Another Party, a Voluntary Act or a Known Disease"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  42. ^ Hipes, Patrick (April 13, 2022). "Jean-Marc Vallée Cause Of Death Revealed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  43. ^ Victoria Ahearn, "In brief: Out in the Ring wins top Canadian prize at Inside Out". Playback, June 9, 2022.
  44. ^ Hénia Ould-Hammou, "Un documentaire rendra hommage à Jean-Marc Vallée". La Presse, June 16, 2022.

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