Jan 23, 2009 — (TEXT ONLY) Frozen River, a film set at the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation on the border in northern New York has earned Oscar nominations for its screenwriter and one of its lead actresses. Frozen River tells the story of two women who are driven by poverty and circumstances to smuggle illegal immigrants across the US-Canada border.
Courtney Hunt is nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay. She also directed the movie. She told North Country Public Radio she knows the North Country because her husband is from Malone. She says it was women smugglers who really attracted her to the subject matter of Frozen River. She now lives in Chatham in Columbia County.
Melissa Leo, of New York's Ulster County, was nominated for best actress. She plays the single mother who finds herself destitute at Christmas and teams up with a Mohawk woman to bring a Pakistani woman and her baby across the border. Oscar winners will be announced during the 81st Academy Awards presentation Feb. 22. Frozen River also won the Grand Jury Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.