Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inaugural Edition of Canadian Screen Awards Celebrate TV and Film

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inaugural Edition of Canadian Screen Awards Celebrate TV and Film

Article excerpt

Canadian Screen Awards meld best of TV and film

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TORONTO - The inaugural Canadian Screen Awards combine the previous Gemini and Genie Awards into one joint TV and film celebration, but that's not enough for comic Naomi Snieckus.

In the name of efficiency, she suggests throwing in the theatre world's Dora Awards -- as well as a miming competition for good measure -- to create an all-encompassing prize.

"It's going to be called the Mime-sies. Or the Dora-ginies," says Snieckus, best known as smart-aleck gym teacher Bobbi on CBC-TV's "Mr. D."

For those still wrapping their heads around Canada's newest entertainment prize, the Canadian Screen Awards honour the best in homegrown film, television and digital projects and will be broadcast Sunday on CBC-TV.

It replaces the previous Gemini Awards, which saluted Canuck-made TV, and the Genie Awards, which celebrated Canuck-made movies.

"We are in a time when no one has time for two awards nights. We have to put them together -- we get it down, we party hard for one night. Compact," explains Snieckus, who will co-host CBC's online live stream from the red carpet.

"You know, I think it could be done in 10 minutes," adds fellow comic Matt Baram, from the City sitcom "Seed."

"We don't need a long awards show just because we've combined all the awards. In fact, why don't they just make one award and give it to the best Canadian?"

"Flashpoint" star Enrico Colantoni suggests we're already inching down that road, lamenting that past bashes haven't been loose enough, fun enough or offered enough of a spotlight on homegrown talent.

"As long as CBC doesn't do it in a half-hour special because there are a lot of categories to cover in a half hour. Maybe the winners could just walk by the stage and wave as opposed to actually taking 20 seconds to say thank you," says Colantoni, a best actor contender in the TV drama race.

"It's incredibly uncomfortable when you've won something and aren't allowed to thank anybody in your own way. To be rushed like that and make it all about, 'OK, this is a show.' I think the Golden Globes do it the best."

The revamped bash is part of sweeping changes the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television brought in to draw bigger audiences to "a bigger show with bigger impact."

When the merged bash was announced last year, Academy chair Martin Katz pointed to the Golden Globes and British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards as worthy role models. He suggested that combining the power of Canadian A-listers for one big event would elevate the industry as a whole.

It's no surprise then that homegrown star power is a key part of this weekend's broadcast.

Martin Short adds Hollywood heft as show host and a slew of cross-border stars have been recruited to present trophies: Sandra Oh, Genevieve Bujold, Jay Baruchel, Adam Beach, James Cromwell and Catherine O'Hara among them.

Short, who hosted the Geminis in 1989, says he's intent on making the inaugural gala entertaining, noting that he might unleash "a song or two."

And he approves of the combined format, admitting that he's fed up with the seemingly endless parade of award shows in the United States.

"Why not put it under one umbrella," Short says in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, where he is based.

"Down here there are too many award shows. I mean, when I was a kid there were the Oscars and the Emmys. And now there are five examples of the Oscars before the Oscars. So it does kind of upstage a little bit and make it a little less special than it used to be. …

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