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Rebelle (War Witch) sweeps Canadian Screen Awards

The complete list of winners at the inaugural awards


 

Frank Gunn/CP

Rebelle (War Witch), Montreal director Kim Nguyen’s intimate and compelling drama of an African child soldier, swept Sunday night’s inaugural edition of the Canadian Screen Awards, winning 10 of its 12 nominations. A week after the Oscars, where Rebelle inevitably lost to Amour for Best Foreign Language Film, this low budget Quebec feature triumphed over larger Canadian productions such as Midnight’s Children. And after being flown from the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend the Academy Awards, the film’s 16-year-old star, Rachel Mwanza, was on hand in Toronto to accept the CSA honour for best performance by an actress in a leading role. Mwanza, who made her acting debut in Rebelle, was a homeless street kid in Kinshasa when she was cast as 12-year-old Kimona, an orphan rape victim who tells her story to her unborn child.

Rebelle also won awards for director, original screenplay, supporting actor (Serge Kanyinda), cinematography, editing, production design and sound. That didn’t leave much for everyone else. James Cromwell took best lead actor for his role opposite Geneviève Bujold in Still Mine, its only award. Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan’s story of a teacher’s transsexual odyssey, won just two of its 10 nominations, for costumes and make-up. And of its eight nominations, Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children won two: Seema Biswas was named best supporting actress for Midnight’s Children, while screenwriter Salman Rushdie was awarded for adapting his own novel. David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis took best original song and score. And, as expected, Sarah Polley won the documentary feature prize for her acclaimed family memoir, Stories We Tell.

Hosted by Martin Short and broadcast live on CBC TV, the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards have melded film’s Genies and TV’s Geminis with the goal of creating a bigger, glitzier event. Short trotted out a trunk full of his beloved SCTV characters for the event—including Jiminy Glick, who dished out insults on the red carpet, and Ed Grimley, who puffed out his trouser-hoist paunch and said, “I look like Rob Ford from the back.” From his grand entrance on a swing to being cradled by Glenn Healey while giving a performance-art impression of bagpipes, Short gave a knock-out performance that put Oscar host Seth MacFarlane to shame.

Leading the TV winners were two shows that are now defunct: Flashpoint won for best dramatic series and its star, Erico Calontoni, was named best actor in a drama series, while Less Than Kind won for best comedy series, and best comedy actress (Wendy Meldrum), while  Gerry D. (Mr. D) won for best comedy actor. Best actress in a dramatic series went to Meg Tilly for Bomb Girls.

The CBC led the field in news, variety and reality programming. Dragon’s Den was named best reality show, Peter Mansbridge the top news anchor, Brian Williams best sports host or analyst—and the man with the longest name, George Stroumboulopoulos, received the award with the longest title: Best Host in a Variety, Lifestyle, Reality/Competition, Performing Arts or Talk Program or Series.

The gala event, held at Toronto’s Sony Centre, had an electricity lacking at either the Genies or the Geminis. The mood was upbeat, as both the TV and film sides of the industry seemed to concur that, given the scarcity of Canadian glitz, joining forces was a good thing, although the marriage is not entirely harmonious. At the party after the show, film mogul Robert Lantos congratulated CEO Helga Stephenson, CEO of the Canadian Academy of Film and Television, for the event, but not without chiding her for letting the show climax with a TV award (for Flashpoint) rather than the prize for best film (Rebelle).

Well, film is traditionally the more prestigious medium, and at the Golden Globes the TV folk may still have to sit at the children’s table. But this Canada, where there is no star system except in television; our movie stars have mostly migrated to Hollywood. And for all last night’s inspirational hoopla, there’s still a sad disconnect between the industry and the audience that’s hard for any awards show to fix—last night’s biggest prizes went to TV shows that are off the air and movies that people haven’t seen.

Yet Martin Short did his best to make up for it, like a dynamo trying to generate his own one-man star system. An awards is only as good as its host. And as the Oscars reminded us, there are just a few people on the planet who have the whole song/dance/writing/performing/comic improv tool kit—along with a Hollywood post-grad degree in showbiz savvy. Like a younger, crisper Billy Crystal, Short is one of them. At last night’s post-show party, Martin Katz, chair of the Canadian academy, was already talking about asking him to host again next year. I’m not sure how the show played to a TV audience; I watched it in a media room backstage, amid a buzz of distractions, but afterwards the industry types who emerged from theatre seemed gratified by it.

As for the awards, as a film critic I feel unqualified to parse the TV side, but on the film side the Rebelle sweep is perhaps not the healthiest outcome. A strong but modest film about a vital subject, Rebelle triumphed over more ambitious but less gem-like pictures, such as Lawrence Anyways, Midnight’s Children, Cosmopolis and Goon. And the historic imbalance between Quebec cinema over English Canadian film was especially evident this year. Only five of the 19 awards for feature-length films went to movies shot in English Canada. And all four of the film acting awards went to non-Canadian actors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s an observation worth noting: for what it’s worth, we may have the most internationally inclined cinema of any country in the world.

The complete list of  2013 Canadian Screen Awards:

TELEVISION & DIGITAL MEDIA CATEGORIES

 Program Categories

The Bell Media Award for Best Comedy Program or Series
Less Than Kind
(Breakthrough Entertainment, Buffalo Gal Pictures)
Ira Levy, Garry Campbell, Marvin Kaye, Phyllis Laing, Mark McKinney, Chris Sheasgreen, Paula Smith, Peter Williamson

Best Dramatic Series

Sponsored by the Independent Production Fund
Flashpoint
(Flashpoint Season IV Productions Inc.)
Anne Marie La Traverse, Bill Mustos

Best International Drama                   

The Borgias
(Take 5 Productions, Mid-Atlantic Films, Octagon Films)
Neil Jordan, James Flynn, Sheila Hockin, John Weber

Best Reality/Competition Program or Series

Sponsored by A&E Network
Dragons’ Den
(CBC)
Tracie Tighe, Mike Armitage, Lisa Gabriele

Performance Categories

The Shaw Media Award for Best Host in a Variety, Lifestyle, Reality/Competition, Performing Arts or Talk Program or Series
George Stroumboulopoulos – George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight – John Irving / Regis Philbin/ Haiti Special

Best News Anchor
Peter Mansbridge – CBC News The National

Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role
Gerry Dee – Mr. D – The Basketball Diaries

 Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role
Wendel Meldrum – Less Than Kind – The Fwomp

Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role
Enrico Colantoni – Flashpoint – Day Game

 Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role
Meg Tilly – Bomb Girls – Armistice

Best Sports Host or Analyst in a Sports Program or Sportscast
Brian Williams – London 2012 Olympic Games

FILM CATEGORIES

BEST MOTION PICTURE / MEILLEUR FILM

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Comweb Group / William F. White International Inc.

REBELLE / WAR WITCH – Pierre Even, Marie-Claude Poulin

 ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN / MEILLEURE DIRECTION ARTISTIQUE

EMMANUEL FRECHETTE, JOSÉE ARSENAULT – Rebelle / War Witch

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY / MEILLEURES IMAGES

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Christie Digital

NICOLAS BOLDUC – Rebelle / War Witch

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN / MEILLEURS COSTUMES

XAVIER DOLAN, FRANÇOIS BARBEAU – Laurence Anyways

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTION / MEILLEURE RÉALISATION

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Pinewood Toronto Studios

KIM NGUYEN – Rebelle / War Witch

ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING / MEILLEUR MONTAGE

RICHARD COMEAU – Rebelle / War Witch

 ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKE-UP / MEILLEURS MAQUILLAGES

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Lancôme

COLLEEN QUINTON, MICHELLE CÔTÉ, KATHY KELSO, MARTIN LAPOINTE – Laurence Anyways

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC – ORIGINAL SCORE / MEILLEURE MUSIQUE ORIGINALE

HOWARD SHORE – Cosmopolis

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC – ORIGINAL SONG / MEILLEURE CHANSON ORIGINALE

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Slaight Music

EMILY HAINES, JAMES SHAW, HOWARD SHORE – Cosmopolis – Long to Live

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE / INTERPRÉTATION MASCULINE DANS UN PREMIER RÔLE

JAMES CROMWELL – Still Mine

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE / INTERPRÉTATION MASCULINE DANS UN RÔLE DE SOUTIEN

Sponsor / Commanditaire: Tribute Entertainment

SERGE KANYINDA – Rebelle / War Witch

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE / INTERPRÉTATION FÉMININE DANS UN PREMIER RÔLE

RACHEL MWANZA – Rebelle / War Witch

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE / INTERPRÉTATION FÉMININE DANS UN RÔLE DE SOUTIEN

SEEMA BISWAS – Midnight’s Children

ACHIEVEMENT IN OVERALL SOUND / MEILLEUR SON D’ENSEMBLE

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Deluxe Toronto Ltd.

CLAUDE LA HAYE, DANIEL BISSON, BERNARD GARIÉPY STROBL – Rebelle / War Witch

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING / MEILLEUR MONTAGE SONORE

MARTIN PINSONNAULT, JEAN-FRANCOIS B. SAUVÉ, SIMON MEILLEUR, CLAIRE POCHON – Rebelle / War Witch

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY / MEILLEUR SCÉNARIO

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Astral’s Harold Greenberg Fund

KIM NGUYEN – Rebelle / War Witch

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY / MEILLEURE ADAPTATION

Sponsor / Commanditaire: Starlight TV

SALMAN RUSHDIE – Midnight’s Children

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS / MEILLEURS EFFETS VISUELS

DENNIS BERARDI, JASON EDWARDH, MATT GLOVER, TREY HARRELL, LEANN HARVEY, JO HUGHES, ETHAN LEE, SCOTT RIOPELLE, ERIC ROBINSON, KYLE YONEDA – Resident Evil: Retribution

TED ROGERS BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY / PRIX TED ROGERS POUR LE MEILLEUR LONG MÉTRAGE DOCUMENTAIRE

STORIES WE TELL – Anita Lee, Sarah Polley

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY / MEILLEUR COURT MÉTRAGE DOCUMENTAIRE

Sponsor / Commanditaire : Hot Docs

THE BOXING GIRLS OF KABUL – Annette Clarke, Ariel Nasr

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT DRAMA / MEILLEUR COURT MÉTRAGE DRAMATIQUE

THROAT SONG – Miranda de Pencier, Stacey Aglok MacDonald

BEST ANIMATED SHORT / MEILLEUR COURT MÉTRAGE D’ANIMATION

PAULA – Julie Roy, Dominic Étienne Simard


 

Rebelle (War Witch) sweeps Canadian Screen Awards

  1. Agreed….Martin is a class act….and can deliver punch with no major harm done to the broadcast! He may have a new gig next year! ;)

  2. does anyone find it ironic that an American cable network,A&E is sponsoring one of the awards???….sort of like using the U.S. Mint to print Canadian money and coins

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