Hidden gems of the Canadian Screen Awards

The Canadian Screen Awards (aka CSAs aka Screenies aka#CdnScreen16 aka give the damn things an official nickname, would you?) were announced yesterday.

In one of the worst-designed websites you’ll find this side of GeoCities, the Academy helpfully tells us which awards we should care most about by selecting them for an easier to navigate “Selected Awards” television page. They think I’m more interested in Best Local News Anchor than any of the screenwriting awards? Don’t they know me at all?  After combing through a 55-page PDF of the complete television nominees I’ve found some gems and head-scratchers.

Favourite head-to-head match-up

Dan Levy versus dad Eugene Levy, both of Schitt’s Creek, as best actor in a comedy? Bring on the battle of the eyebrows. Eugene has the Canadian comedic royalty history but Dan’s portrayal of selfish, oblivious, vulnerable David won my heart and my funny bone. Both could be winners as producers, since Schitt’s Creek is up for best comedy, and Dan has one of two writing nominations for the series, which garnered a whopping 14 TV nominations (and one for digital).

Helen Shaver should direct everything

She has two of the five nominations for best direction in a drama, for two different series: Vikings and Orphan Black. Which also seem to me two of the most complicated series to direct, what with the multiple clones played by one person and the swashbuckling Vikings.

There’s a fine line

Still Standing, with comedian Jonny Harris touring the country doing standup and finding laughs and poignancy in small town Canada is most reminiscent of the Rick Mercer Report to me, yet they are in different categories: best factual program for Still Standing, best variety or sketch for Mercer. It both makes sense — Still Standing skews towards learning about the places he visits, Mercer skews more toward sketch, and yet illustrates the difficulty of categorization, especially for awards that have 55 PDF pages of categories to choose from.

I do not think that word means what you think it means

Bitten received two nominations, one for music and another for “best achievement in casting.” Yet none of the cast, including guest roles, was nominated. I wouldn’t take anything away from Bitten but one of the few nominations Schitt’s Creek did not get was casting, though nearly its entire cast was nominated.

Moment of panic

No This Life or Romeo Section? The Canadian Screen Award eligibility period for television is from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015, so they won’t be able to enter until next year.  That five month gap between the period’s end and the nomination announcement — which expands to seven months until the awards are handed out — primes the Screenies to regularly honour already cancelled shows long after they last aired.

Speaking of cancelled series …

Strange Empire‘s Aaron Poole is deservedly up for best dramatic actor, and Woody Jeffreys for supporting in the same series. Blackstone has one last shot as best drama, an award its been nominated for before but has never taken home.

That said … holy 19-2

The Bravo series will be hard to beat, with 12 nominations including best drama series. Orphan Black has 13 nods but best drama series isn’t one of them (two of them are best writing for a drama series, though).

Canadian rules

Best international drama was added to  the Gemini Awards — the TV awards that merged with the Genies to create the Canadian Screen Awards — in 2012.  The perception was that international coproductions such as The Tudors and The Borgias had an unfair advantage over purely homegrown productions and naming them best Canadian drama was an embarrassment. Lately it’s the international drama category itself that’s an embarrassment, with only Vikings and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell earning nominations this year. With two contenders, why bother? I’d put my money on 19-2 over those two any day. And yet, this category made the Academy’s “Selected Awards” cut.

Tune in March 13 on CBC to see Norm Macdonald preside over the televised portion of the ceremony.



2 thoughts on “Hidden gems of the Canadian Screen Awards”

  1. Has Young Drunk Punk (nominated for best comedy) been cancelled? If so, it belongs on your list of “Speaking of cancelled series”. If not, when will more episodes come out? I never really watched it when it was on City, but was able to see many of them on CBC. Good show!

    Also, a name for the Canadian Screen Award? CaSA

    1. Not yet … we should find out if there will be another season at least when City and CBC announce their upcoming seasons in the coming months. The ratings haven’t been good but you never know. There are other cancelled series I didn’t mention though – it wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive list.

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