A New Crown Jewel for Canadian Film and Television.
Last month, on March 3, the first ever Canadian Screen Awards were held in downtown Toronto, hosted by Martin Short. In 2012, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced their decision to merge the Genie Awards, held for film, and the Gemini Awards, held for television, into a single ceremony. Some may have had criticism regarding the merge, but the Academy’s decision ultimately paid off in the form of an incredible ratings boost, attracting 2.9 million viewers, throughout the CBC TV broadcast, with an average audience of 756,000 viewers. Clearly, this new contender is here to stay. The ceremony’s categories were divided into Film, Television – subdivided into Programs, Actors, News, and Sports – and a new category, Digital Media. The big film winner of the night was the drama film War Witch, directed by Kim Nyugen, which won ten of its twelve nominations, including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Achievement in Direction for Kim Nguyen. James Cromwell won Best Actor in a Leading Role for Still Mine, and Seema Biswas won Best Supporting Actress in a Supporting Role for Midnight’s Children, while Sarah Polley and Anita Lee’s documentary, Stories We Tell, won Best Feature Length Documentary. Haligonian Ariel Nasir won Best Short Documentary for The Boxing Girls of Kabul, after having received an Oscar nomination this year for his short film Buzkashi Boys. In television, the police procedural Flashpoint, now in its fifth and final season, won Best Drama Series while Enrico Colantoni, Flashpoint’s main actor, won Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Less Than Kind won Best Comedy Series, and its main actress, Wendel Meldrum, won Best Actress in a Comedy Series. The Borgias won Best International Drama, and Dragon’s Den won Best Reality/Competition Program or Series. In the news category, CBC News: The National was awarded Best National Newscast, while the fifth estate won Best News Information Series. Lastly, in the digital media category, the web series Guidestones won Best Original Program or Series, Fiction, and The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour won Best Cross-Platform Project, Fiction. Overall it appears that the Canadian Screen Awards are here to stay. The average audience for the ceremony was double that of the Genie and Gemini Awards in the past, and the 2.9 million viewers made up nearly ten percent of Canada’s population. From The Globe and Mail to CTV News, the reviews for the ceremony were stellar, and Short, best known for his comedy work on Second City Television and Saturday Night Live, did a fantastic job, giving a reverent and entertaining performance as host, with Seth MacFarlane’s Oscars attempt falling flat in comparion.