Monday, March 11, 2013

'Rebelle' ('War Witch') big winner at first ever Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto

I finally got around to watching the first ever Canadian Screen Awards that were broadcast on CBC television on March 2, 2013. I wasn't alone. According to the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, more than 2.9 million people tuned in to CBC for the broadcast, which earned an average audience of 756,000 viewers. 

The new awards honor achievement in both Canadian television and film, replacing the Gemini (television) and Genie (film) Awards. 116 awards were handed out to performers, craftspeople and producers in 22 film categories, 89 television categories and five digital media categories during three evenings of awards shows during Canadian Screen Week. 

Hosted by Canadian funny man Martin Short (I rode in an elevator with him at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver a number of years ago), I found it to be entertaining (Andrew Ryan of The Globe and Mail, not so much). Although Short played himself most of the evening, he also did his hilarious Jiminy Glick routine, interviewing such stars as Arlene Dickinson, Alan THicke, Rick Mercer and Catherine O'Hara on the CBC Red Carpet with Canadian comedian and actor Shaun Majumder. Ed Grimley also made a brief appearance.

Short made a grand entrance ala Peter Pan, flying high above the stage to Fly Me Through the Moon. His Scottish bagpipe routine was spot on and when he realized he didn't win any awards (he was nominated for two), he commented about his losses: "My rock bottom is still your wildest dreams." Only Marty could get away with saying that!

Some of my favorite winners were Sarah Polley for Best Documentary (Stories We Tell); Meg Tilly for Best Actress in a Drama Series (Bomb Girls); Best Reality Series to Dragons' Den; and Best Variety Host to George Stroumboulopoulos (now in his 9th season on CBC). Best Dramatic Series went to Flashpoint, while Heartland star Amber Marshall won the inaugural fans' choice award called Canada's Screen Star.  Quebec film Rebelle/War Witch won 10 of its 12 nominations, including Best Motion Picture and Best Achievement in Direction for Kim Nguyen.  
From the Toronto Star: "Canadian Screen Awards nickname the Candys gains traction. Fans of the late comic actor John Candy think he'd make a great namesake for the Canadian Screen Awards."