Movies · TV

Xavier Dolan Leads Canadian Screen Awards Nominations

By  · Published on January 17th, 2017

The “Canadian Oscars” feature innovative nominees in both film and television.

On Tuesday morning, actors Maxim Roy, Amanda Brugel, and Simu Liu announced the nominees for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s 2017 Canadian Screen Awards. The awards honor outstanding works in film, television, and digital media productions. Both the film and television categories include innovative works made by young talent, and it is refreshing to see the unique work being done in the Canadian media industry.

French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s film, It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) leads the nominations in the film categories, scoring nine nods including Best Motion Picture. Dolan’s film won the Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and has been submitted as Canada’s entry for the 2017 Academy Awards. Dolan did an incredible job adapting Jean-Luc Lagarce’s play of the same name, which was beautifully brought to life by stars Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, and Lea Seydoux. Dolan’s films always feature meticulous production design, and are always visually stunning. His latest entry is especially sumptuous as it was shot on 35mm film.

Dolan directing It’s Only the End of the World

The biographical sports film Race is right behind Dolan’s film, with eight nominations. Race tells the true story of track star Jesse Owens, who broke records when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Stephan James gives a powerful performance as Owens, and Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, and Carice van Houten all provide great supporting performances.

Other Best Motion Picture nominees include: Bad Seeds, Before the Streets, Hello Destroyer, Old Stone, Operation Avalanche, Searchers (Maliglutit), Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves, and Weirdos. These films represent experiences from all across Canada – there is a dramatic film about hockey players, a political film made by Quebecois intellectuals, and an Inuit spin on John Ford’s The Searchers. Stella Meghie was nominated for her brilliant screenplay for her first feature, Jean of the Joneses, which is absolutely deserving of more attention than it has been getting. Most of these films premiered at TIFF, which is well-known as an organization that champions innovative emerging Canadian talent.

Orphan Black

In the television category, the hit series Orphan Black is the leader, with 14 different nominations. Of course, Tatiana Maslany has been nominated as Best Actress – this makes complete sense, considering she plays a number of characters, and does so brilliantly. Other nominated shows include Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D, Letterkenny, and Mohawk Girls. These nominations represent the best of Canadian television, highlighting uniquely Canadian experiences and places, and starring talented Canadian actors. The Tragically Hip’s final concert in their Man Machine Poem tour was also nominated, which, as you may know, is an incredibly emotional thing for lots of Canadians.

One thing that is great about the Canadian Screen Awards is that there are so many different categories. The awards truly recognize talent across the entire media landscape, from film directors and actors to news anchors (such as CBC’s Peter Mansbridge) to reality TV creators (Canada’s Smartest Person scored a nomination). Awards are given for achievement in cinematography and editing for both feature films and documentaries. Documentary television programs are also honored, as well as non-fiction programs directed at kids. Awards are also given to achievements in casting, an integral part of film and television that often goes unnoticed.

All of this is to say that the Canadian Screen Awards are cool because they shine a spotlight on all kinds of media, and the people who worked hard to bring these works to the screen. The Canadian Screen Awards honor those who have been in the industry for a long time, as well as young people who are just beginning their careers. The nominees represent unique experiences from across Canada, and works such as Mohawk Girls and Searchers (Maliglutit) celebrate the artistic achievements of First Nations people. The ceremony will be hosted by Howie Mandel, and will be televised on March 12th on CBC.

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Actual film school graduate from Toronto. Always thinking and writing about queerness, feminism, camp, melodrama, and popular culture.