I have to say, I think the Canadian Screen Awards have finally found its feet. This year’s event felt more like a classic awards show, borrowing some class from the Four Seasons Centre, which also houses the opera and ballet. They provided a brief one-line history of each of the actor nominees, which I thought was a nice touch to introduce them to an audience that may not have heard of them before. They were accessible and something worth accessing.
And Andrea Martin killed it. Her opening monologue was hilarious and edgy and topical. Basically everything you want from a host. I just wish there had been more of her on stage and not just the pre-filmed vignettes. And in this line, Eugene Levy wins for Best Presenter. That whole bit with his son was hilarious and his deadpan is unbelievable.
Watching the awards, I was surprised by the lack of surprises. Xavier Dolan’s Mommy took home nine awards, including three for Dolan himself. Clone Club represented with a grand total of ten wins, including Best Leading Actress and Best Drama Series. Insert obligatory cloning joke here. I mean, I get it. They are fantastic. But when the Best Director category is filled with Dolan, Egoyan, Cronenberg, Lafleur (editor of Monsieur Lazhar), the only person who hadn’t had a film at these awards before was Albert Shin. It tells you something about our film industry. And I’m not saying the lack of surprise is a bad thing. It just feels like there’s no way to lose the CSA pool which is surely is happening at your office.
Also in the realm of no surprise, Don Carmody’s Pompeii picked up four awards, which they totally deserve for making a parking lot in Etobicoke look like Rome. And Carmody took home for the Cineplex Golden Screen for Feature Film (aka Golden Reel) because it’s what he does. Seriously. He makes money and wins awards. Not a bad system he has going on there.
One surprise to me was that 19-2 only won one of the ten awards that they were nominated for. I know it’s hard to take down a juggernaut like Orphan Black but they can’t be the only great thing on TV at the moment. I think 19-2 deserved more recognition than just the nominations. Thank you Jared Keeso for representing. And poor Mr. D ended up in the same boat. Harsh.
Call Me Fitz had a nice send off with four awards, including Best Comedy. Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy also picked up a bittersweet three awards. Don McKellar won Best Director and Best Lead Actor in a Comedy for Sensitive Skin. Still Kim Cattrall should’ve won or at least gotten a nod. Just saying.
I love that, in Canada, the Best News Anchor makes it to the broadcast awards. That tells you a lot about a nation. And even better, it was presented by the cast of 22 Minutes. We take our news very seriously up here. But Lisa Laflamme rocked it out for a second year in a row. Mansbridge has to pull up his socks this year.
Also making it to the broadcast this year was Best Web Series. Now people commented on this being the first year for the award, but it was actually the third. It was previously masquerading under the laborious title of Best Original Program or Series Produced for Digital Media. I’d to thank the Academy for cleaning up the name and suggest that it do the same for some others while they’re at it.
Yes, it is prestigious that digital media awards made it into the broadcast and congratulations to Space Riders: Division Earth on their win. What would be even better was if people were actually making money on web series. You know, like everybody else in the room who makes a living from their craft.
The Academy introduced two new awards (because that’s what we needed). Much like the previous Golden Reel for top grossing Canadian film, there are now Golden Screen Awards for most watched reality and drama programs. This I really like because it’s nice to reflect on what people are actually watching. But I was surprised that comedy didn’t qualify for an award. But as much as I hate to say it, the reality shows probably pull in larger numbers. The other interesting thing was that all the drama nominees were procedurals. Clones are great but cops still dominate in Canada.
There was some buzz about Julianne Moore being a presenter at the awards which was nice to see. I grumble when Americans win a screen award but I appreciate when they show up and participate in our reindeer games, especially when it’s a week after she won an Oscar. And there was a little part of me that enjoyed when she lost to the Quebec star Anne Dorval. It’s terrible, I know, since she seems like a lovely person, but it happens. I’m sure she enjoyed her stay anyway.
Some behind the scenes notes: this was probably the best organized press room that the broadcast has had before. Nobody got trapped down there like poor Tracy Dawson who spent most of the award show with the press after she won last year. The one issue during the non-broadcast gala was they cut off everyone’s acceptance speech pretty much as soon as they started, leading Xavier Dolan to question what the point of the whole thing was. Next year maybe add an extra half hour to the non-broadcast to give people time and not have to run to the stage to get their 30 seconds.
The last item I was to address is TV, Eh’s point about how the winners are always announced on Twitter prior to the actual broadcast. This is because the broadcast is live-to-tape and so the press tweets the winners an hour before everyone else finds out. I know that I am part of the problem, but I agree. It would be better if we were all able to experience it together and have a more communal experience instead of having people avoid Twitter and have it spoiled. #spoileralert doesn’t really do that much to protect the secrets.
But that’s a wrap on the Canadian Screen Awards for this year. Thanks to Academy for a great week of celebrating our industry and looking forward to seeing what you come up with next year!