Actor Gabrielle Marion-Rivard (centre) with Luc Dery, Louise Archambault and Alexandre Landry with award for best motion picture Gabrielle at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday March 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill The Canadian Press
Fan favourite TV series Orphan Black, coming-of-age drama Gabrielle, psychological thriller Enemy and TV comedy Call Me Fitz took home major trophies at the Canadian Screen Awards gala Sunday night, an evening that saw awards spread out to a wide range of winners.
Orphan Black was a dominant force, adding the coveted title of best dramatic series as well as best actress in a TV drama for star Tatiana Maslany to prizes won earlier this week.
"This is such an honour for me to be here tonight and nominated opposite so many incredible actresses," the Regina actress, a breakout star for her impressive turn in the popular sci-fi drama, said with a waver in her voice as she accepted her CSA trophy at the Toronto ceremony.
She also thanked Graeme Manson and John Fawcett for "creating this weird show and giving me this incredible opportunity."
The hit series, which won a whopping 10 awards at various CSA ceremonies overall, features Maslany as identical women revealed to be clones and embroiled in a complex, conspiracy-laden storyline.
Gabrielle, the Quebec coming-of-age drama that was Canada's official selection for Oscar foreign-language film consideration, was named best film of the past year. Its star, first-time actress Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, triumphed over more established performers to take the best film actress award.
The French-language movie stars Marion-Rivard as a musically gifted woman with the genetic disorder Williams syndrome (which she has).
Meanwhile, another French Canadian performer — veteran Gabriel Arcand — won best film actor for his role in Le Démantélement (The Auction).
Multiple wins for Call Me Fitz, Enemy
Actor Jason Priestley's dark TV comedy Call Me Fitz scored in a host of comedy categories, including best TV comedy and best actor for the former star of 1990s drama Beverly Hills, 90210. Priestley picked up his first Canadian Screen Award for his starring role as a morally questionable used-car salesman.
"This is totally unexpected and really appreciated," he declared."I have to thank the greatest cast of actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in my life."
His co-star, Tracy Dawson, was also named best actress in a TV comedy.
Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's Enemy was also a big winner Sunday evening. Villeneuve scored best director kudos for the intense drama, based on José Saramago's novel The Double, and the film also won in a raft of other categories, including supporting actress for Sarah Gadon and for its cinematography, editing and original score during the earlier non-televised ceremony.
CBC-TV's miniseries Jack, based on the life of the late Jack Layton, also earned trophies for the performances of its leads: Rick Roberts as Layton and Sook-Yin Lee, who portrayed Olivia Chow.
Fan picks were honoured early on — before the actual ceremony at Sony Centre for the Arts in downtown Toronto — with Lost Girl named Fan's Choice Favourite TV Show or Film, and the supernatural crime drama's Zoie Palmer named Fan's Choice Screen Star during the red carpet proceedings.
Tribute to Cronenberg
Midway through, the broadcast took a break for an eerie film montage and tribute to David Cronenberg, with Jay Baruchel and Viggo Mortensen speaking about the celebrated Toronto-based filmmaker.
"Mainstream movie business people, much as they might praise him time to time, seem very reluctant to reward him officially. I can understand that because David basically is not one of them. And I think they know it — a fact that probably makes them even more uncomfortable than his movies do," said Mortensen, who has starred in Cronenberg's films A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method.
"I think we’re definitely doing the right thing here tonight," he continued, hailing Cronenberg as"the finest director and the sanest man I know for the artistic excellence and the singular courage of his work."
For his part, the filmmaker chose to tell a joke.
“A man visits his doctor. He says ‘Doctor. I can’t pee.’ The doctor says ‘How old are you?’ He says ‘I’m 93.’ The doctor says ‘You’ve peed enough.’ When I was asked if I would accept this lovely award, it did occur to me the Academy was sending a message that went: David, you’ve peed enough,” Cronenberg said to widespread laughter.
"Somehow I found a way to say yes, I can accept this fantastic and very sweet award that has been given to me by my colleagues with, I know, an incredible sweetness and affection — which makes it, you know, just a beautiful thing."
Hosted for a second consecutive year by Martin Short, Sunday night's star-studded celebration was the climax of a week honouring the year's best in film, television and digital programming. The CSAs combine the previously separate Genie and Gemini Awards.
Action-adventure film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones — based on bestselling young adult novel series by Cassandra Clare — was among the big winners during a non-televised gala late Sunday afternoon, when awards were presented in nearly two dozen categories.
Previously announced as the winner of the Golden Reel Award (the homegrown film with the biggest Canadian box office, after grossing more than $5.2 million in Canada), The Mortal Instruments received further kudos for its visual effects, make-up, overall sound and sound editing.
Other winners during the non-televised gala included:
- Art direction/production design: Louis Cyr: The Strongest Man in the World.
- Animated short:Subconscious Password.
- Live action short:Noah.
- Costume design:Louis Cyr: The Strongest Man in the World.
- Music - original song: It's No Mistake (from The Right Kind of Wrong), by Serena Ryder and Jimmy Harry.
- Short documentary: Chi.
- Original screenplay:Empire of Dirt.
- Adapted screenplay: The F-Word.
- Claude Jutra Award: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Dozens of awards were also distributed earlier during two mid-week ceremonies.