First off, a hearty congratulations to everyone who has been nominated for a 2020 Canadian Screen Award. I’ve spoken to many of you over the years and enjoyed our chats, your kindness and awesome skills whether you work in front of or behind the camera.
The Canadian Screen Awards are, I believe, as important and justified in their existence as the Golden Globe Awards, Primetime Emmys and BAFTA Awards; and with that comes the scrutiny that befalls the Academy and the nominations it puts forth every year. What does that mean? I poke, prod and peruse the television categories and scrutinize every decision the Academy has made with regard to the 2020 television nominations.
Here are my thoughts on several of the key categories. Let me know your own thoughts in the comments section below!
Best Drama Series
- Anne with an E
- Mary Kills People
I’m thrilled to see such a diverse group of shows listed in this category. What Moira Walley-Beckett achieved with her adaptation of Anne of Green Gables was inspired, Cardinal put Canada on the map with regard to dark, brooding murder series, Coroner was the CBC’s biggest new hit in years, and Mary Kills People proved a controversial topic can air in primetime. As for Vikings? Well, I admire what creator Michael Hirst has done creating a wonderful world first inhabited by Ragnar Lothbrok and passed on to his sons, but I feel other shows were more deserving. Where is Killjoys, which has been so damn good during its entire run? Or how about Pure, which closed out a wonderful (perhaps) final season over on Super Channel? And, finally, Burden of Truth‘s second season was simply stellar, combining legal and life drama in tight storylines.
Best Comedy Series
- Kim’s Convenience
- Schitt’s Creek
- Workin’ Moms
I have no issues with any of the shows in this category. Jann blew everyone out of the water, establishing Jann Arden as a comic force on television and Letterkenny continues to come up with WTF moments. Schitt’s Creek showed yet another side to its sweet story of acceptance and Kim’s Convenience never fails to make me laugh and touch my heart. And though I’m happy Workin’ Moms is here, I don’t feel like Season 3 was its strongest. There were certainly moments where I nodded in understanding and laughed at its outrageous scenes, but I was a little befuddled/nonplussed by the Forrest/Kate storyline.
Best Reality/Competition Program or Series
- The Amazing Race Canada
- Big Brother Canada
- Blown Away
- The Great Canadian Baking Show
- Top Chef Canada
Amid all of the Canadian spinoffs is Blown Away, a newcomer that, pun intended, blew me away. If you had told me putting a bunch of characters in a Hamilton factory and challenging them to make blown glass art for the chance to win money would be compelling TV, I would have laughed at you. But that’s exactly what Blown Away did. It deserves the trophy.
Best Sketch Comedy Show & Ensemble Performance
- Baroness Von Sketch Show
- The Beaverton
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes
Is there any other sketch show out there that hasn’t been included? Email me if the Academy missed one.
Best Lead Actor, Drama
- Peter Mooney, Burden of Truth
- Billy Campbell, Cardinal
- Jerry O’Connell, Carter
- Roger Cross, Coroner
- Shawn Doyle, Unspeakable
This is a fantastic list of actors, but I am a little confused by what the Academy defines as a drama. Jerry O’Connell is great on Carter, but his performance could easily fit in the comedy category. I know it’s up to the production companies to submit, so I’ll give the Academy a bit of a break. Also, Unspeakable was more of a limited series than a series. Perhaps the Academy should bring back that category so shows like Unspeakable and Cardinal can duke it out there. And, to be honest, where is Yannick Bisson in all this? His Detective William Murdoch showed incredible range last season, from deep drama to gut-busting comedy. When is he going to get his due?
- Amybeth McNulty, Anne with an E
- Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
- Serinda Swan, Coroner
- Lauren Lee Smith, Frankie Drake Mysteries
- Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
Where is Hannah John-Kamen from Killjoys, Melanie Scrofano from Wynonna Earp or Hélène Joy from Murdoch Mysteries?
Best Lead Actor, Comedy
- Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
- Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
- Jason Priestley, Private Eyes
- Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
A very strong bunch of fellows are in this category and all are equally deserving. It’s great to see Mr. Priestley in this category; his comic chops make Private Eyes howl-worthy.
Best Lead Actress, Comedy Series
- Jann Arden, Jann
- Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience
- Michelle Mylett, Letterkenny
- Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
- Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Another wonderful list of nominees. I only wish there was room for Andrea Bang from Kim’s Convenience, Dani Kind from Workin’ Moms or Cindy Sampson from Private Eyes.
The 2020 Canadian Screen Awards will be broadcast live Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.