By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
It’s been a spectacular few days for Quebec writer-director Kim Nguyen. On Thursday his film Rebelle (War Witch) received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, just one of five titles plucked from a year of world cinema. And back home today, Rebelle tops the list of films honoured by the newly created Canadian Screen Awards, with a total of 12 nominations. Shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his modest but affecting drama about a child soldier—portrayed by Rachel Mwanza, a girl he discovered in the street—trumped much larger Canadian productions such as Midnight’s Children, Goon and Cosmopolis.
On its tail with 10 nominations is Laurence Anyways, the story of a teacher’s transsexual odyssey by Quebec auteur Xavier Dolan. Quebec features dominate the awards with four of the six best picture nominations, the two exceptions being Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children and Michael McGowan’s Still Mine. Mehta’s adaptation of the Salman Rushdie novel, led the non-Quebec field with eight nominations. Like Rebelle and Laurence Anyways, it also scored nominations for director and screenplay.
Still Mine and Nicole Robert’s l’Affaire Dumont were tied with seven nominations; both have double lead acting nods. Michael Dowse’s hockey comedy, Goon, has six nominations, including best director.
The Academy’s choices differ sharply from those of the Toronto Film Critics Associaton, which honored Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell with its $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award for 2012. The Academy has nominated Polley’s movie in the documentary feature category. Goon, one of the TFCA’s two Rogers runners-up, didn’t figure among the Academy’s six best picture nominees; and the TFCA’s other runner-up, Denis Côté’s experimental doc Bestiaire, received no nominations from the Academy.
Heading the list of TV nominees are Flashpoint, with 11 nominations, Less Than Kind with 10, and Michael with eight. Among the nation’s news programs, CBC’s The National topped the list with six nominations.
Re-engineered by the Academy’s new CEO, former TIFF director Helga Stephenson, the Canadian Screen Awards have merged cinema’s Genie Awards with TV’s Geminis. The winners of the film and TV nominees will be announced at a two-hour inaugural gala hosted my Martin Short and broadcast live Sunday March 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. (8:30 N.T) on CBC.
Replacing the Genie and Gemini trophies is a new statuette, a spike-shaped figure with a pair of enveloping cape-like arms. The form, says Stephenson, “symbolizes two screens with the public at the core of it all. The new Canadian Screen Awards statue celebrates Canadian talent and Canadian productions, now destined for multiple screens.”
Amalgamating Canada’s film and TV awards makes sense—certainly on the film side. The Genies have been limping along for many years, and just like English Canadian cinema, they’ve had a hard time finding an audience. Film is supposed to carry more prestige than TV, but that’s worthless if a Genie falls in the forest and no one hears. Film and TV are increasingly interlocked. And hitched to the industrial power of the broadcast biz, the film awards may gain more traction. With some synergy, hopefully, Canada’s film and TV glitterati can create an entertaining prime-time awards show we can proud of. And they couldn’t have a better energizer bunny than the virtuosic Martin Short, who was dazzling in his recent turn as host of SNL.
The anomaly, of course, is that the film awards include Quebec while the TV awards do not. But Quebec television is its own industry, with its own star system. Canadian film is a smaller world than Canadian TV—it sounds counter-intuitive, but the big screen is smaller than the small screen. Yet cinema is, at least theoretically, the more universal medium. Besides, if Canadian cinema can’t claim the likes of Villeneuve, Arcand, Falardeau and Nguyen among our auteurs, we would be pretty impoverished.
The TV nominees are too voluminous to list, but is the full slate films nominated for the Canadian Screen Awards:
By Alex Ballingall - Friday, March 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM - 0 Comments
If he left Los Angeles last month feeling down for losing the best foreign…
If he left Los Angeles last month feeling down for losing the best foreign film Oscar to Iran’s A Separation, Montreal director Philippe Falardeau must have felt validated last night. His film Monsieur Lazhar was the most honoured movie at the Genie Awards, taking home six trophies, including best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay.
The movie, inspired by a play called Bashir Lazhar, is the story of a grieving man from Algeria who replaces a dead teacher at the head of a elementary school class in Montreal. It has garnered much praise from movie critics and audiences. “Cinema is the memory and imagination of a country, so without that our country would not be a nation,” said Falardeau after collecting his trophy for best director at the ceremony in Toronto. “I would like to share this with all my fellow filmmakers across Canada who are struggling to make personal films. I want to say to them be persistent, be wild, be bold, be a little delinquent, take this and something good is bound to happen.”
Another big winner at the Genies was the film A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Hollywood heavyweights Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortenson, who was on hand to win best supporting actor for his portrayal of Sigmund Freud in the film.
It wasn’t the Oscars, but with films such as these on display—not to mention others like Café du Flore and Starbuck—it might be safe to say that Canadian movie-makers punched above their weight last year.
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 8:17 PM - 0 Comments
Philippe Falardeau’s beloved Monsieur Lazhar took the Genie Awards by storm tonight, winning six of its nine nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for its French-Algerian star Fellag. The film’s Genie triumph crowns a string of honours including an Oscar nomination, the best Canadian feature prize at TIFF, and the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association.
Based on a Quebec play, Monsieur Lazhar is the touching drama of an Algerian refugee who takes over a teaching job in a Montreal classroom traumatized by his predecessor’s suicide. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
Café de Flore leads the field competing in the 32nd annual Genie Awards with a total of 13 nominations, including best picture and director. The film marks a virtuosic return to form for C.R.A.Z.Y director Jean-Marc Vallée after his rather subdued work-for-hire, The Young Victoria. By vaulting ahead of the pack in the Genie nominations, which were announced today, Vallée wins some vindication after being repeatedly upstaged by Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar—which won TIFF’s $30,000 award for best Canadian feature, the Toronto Film Critics Association’s $15,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award—and was picked as Canada’s official submission slot at the Oscars for best foreign-language film. Monsieur Lazhar ranked third among the Genie nominations, scoring in eight categories, behind David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, which received 11 nominations.
The big shock among the nominees was that Take This Waltz, the star-studded second feature from writer-director Sarah Polley received just two nominations—best actress for Michelle Williams and best make-up. That’s extraordinary given the depth of talent in the cast (Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman) and the fact that Polley’s sensational feature debut, Away From Her, won seven Genies and received two Oscar nominations. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, April 6, 2009 at 4:32 PM - 0 Comments
Capital Diarist Mitchel Raphael was there to capture all the action
The 29th Annual Genie Awards came to Ottawa for the first time. Five MPs showed up. The stars came out. Backstage, CTV’s eTalk served the same cookies that Barack Obama bought when the U.S. president was in Ottawa. Everyone left with a bag of chips. (Text and photos by Mitchel Raphael.)