The crime drama series Cardinal and small-town sitcom Letterkenny are among the early winners at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto.
Cardinal: Blackfly Season stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse both scored trophies for their roles on the series, which is filmed in northern Ontario.
“If there is a more professional and friendly and passionate place to make films, I just haven’t been there yet,” said Campbell in his speech, mentioning Sudbury and North Bay by name. “I’m a Yank and I’m particularly thankful to Canada these days.”
The annual show is the culmination of a week-long celebration which honours the best in Canadian film, TV, news and digital storytelling.
Letterkenny, a comedy about two friends living in a small Ontario community, won for its writing.
Major categories, including best comedy series, best drama series and best film, will also be presented at the gala event broadcasting live from the Sony Centre.
“It’s become a major industry in Canada,” said acting nominee Wendy Crewson, who has also appeared in major Hollywood films such as Room, Air Force One and The Doctor. “But the best thing is Canadian voices are distinctive and that’s what’s selling now.”
On the film side, a number of French-language titles are in the running, including Une colonie (A Colony) and Chien de garde (Family First). Both were directed by women who are also nominated for achievement in direction — notable given the lack of female director nominees at this year’s Academy Awards.
Nominees in the main categories include:
Best motion picture
- Chien de garde (Family First)
- Dans la brume (Just a Breath Away)
- Genèse (Genesis)
- La Grande Noirceur (The Great Darkened Days)
- Une colonie (A Colony)
Best drama series
- Anne with an E
- Bad Blood
- Blood and Water
- Frankie Drake Mysteries
Best comedy series
- Mr. D
- Schitt’s Creek
- Second Jen
- Workin‘ Moms
Stephan James, Deepa Mehta among special honourees
Special honours will be given to comedian Mary Walsh, If Beale Street Could Talk star Stephan James and filmmaker Deepa Mehta, who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.
Walsh, a writer-actress-comedian well known for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, is also being acknowledged for her achievements with the Earle Grey award.
James will receive the inaugural Radius Award. According to the Canadian Academy’s website, it’s “in recognition of a Canadian in the entertainment industry for making waves globally.” James received a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year for his role on the limited series Homecoming and rose to prominence with the 2016 film Race.
The comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, whose eponymous TV series ran from 1989-95, will receive the Academy Icon Award.
Celebrating Canadian TV, film, media
At a pre-televised ceremony earlier on Sunday called the Cinematic Arts Gala, La Grande Noirceur (The Great Darkened Days) took home the most technical awards and Sarah Gadon won for her supporting performance in the film.
Oscar-nominated Animal Behaviour won best animated short. Its creators, Alison Snowden and David Fine, previously won an Academy Award in 1995 for their short Bob’s Birthday.
Earlier this week, dozens of other awards were given out to honour news, digital storytelling and various television series categories. Anne with an E, Cardinal: Blackfly Season, Schitt’s Creek, Baroness von Sketch Show, Letterkenny and Paw Patrol were among the many trophy recipients.
Much like the Oscars did this year, the CSA broadcast has opted to go without a host and instead will insert comedy bits as entertainment in between award presentations.
“One of the things we realized — and we realized it before the Americans did — is that the more we focus on our host and tap dancing and singing and telling jokes, the less we are focusing on the work we do here,” Martin Katz, the Academy of Canadian Film and Televison chair, said on the red carpet prior to the gala.
“So we said, ‘Why don’t we just do a bunch of sketch comedy, highlighting the comedy that people do here?'”
Other categories being presented Sunday, with winners to be updated in bold, include the following:
Performance by an actress in a leading role
- Émilie Bierre, Unecolonie (A Colony)
- Valeria Henríquez, The Padre
- Rose-Marie Perreault, Les faux tatouages (Fake Tattoos)
- Brigitte Poupart, Lessalopes ou le sucre naturel de la peau (Les Salopes or the Naturally Wanton Pleasure of Skin)
- Carla Turcotte, Sashinka
Performance by an actor in a leading role
- Martin Dubreuil, La Grande Noirceur (The Great Darkened Days)
- Paul Nutarariaq, The Grizzlies
- Brandon Oakes, Through Black Spruce
- Théodore Pellerin,Chien de garde (Family First)
- Michael Rowe, Crown and Anchor
Best lead actress, comedy
- Dani Kind, Workin‘ Moms
- Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
- Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
- Catherine Reitman, Workin‘ Moms
- Cindy Sampson, Private Eyes
Best lead actor, comedy
- Gerry Dee, Mr. D
- Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
- Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- Jason Priestley, Private Eyes
Best lead actress, drama series
- Wendy Crewson, The Detail
- Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
- Kristin Kreuk, Burden of Truth
- Amybeth McNulty, Anne with an E
- Melanie Scrofano,Wynonna Earp Space
Best lead actor, drama series
- Aaron Ashmore, Killjoys Space
- Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries
- Kim Coates, Bad Blood City
- Eric McCormack, Travelers Showcase
- Jerry O’Connell, Carter
Best lead actress, drama or limited series
- KarineVanasse, Cardinal: Blackfly Season
- Tori Anderson, Caught
- Amy Matysio, Save Me
- Mary Walsh, A Christmas Fury
Best lead actor, drama or limited series
- Billy Campbell, Cardinal: Blackfly Season
- Fab Filippo, Save Me
- Allan Hawco, Caught
- Mark McKinney, A Christmas Fury
Best writing, comedy
- Letterkenny (Letterkenny Spelling Bee), Jared Keeso, Jacob Tierney
- Mohawk Girls (White but A’right), Cynthia Knight
- Nirvanna the Band the Show (The Book), Andrew Appelle, Robert Hyland, Curt Lobb, Jay McCarrol, Matthew Miller, Jared Raab
- Schitt’s Creek (Singles Week), Daniel Levy
- Trailer Park Boys (F–kin’ F–ked Out Of Our F–kin’ Minds), JP Tremblay, Mike Smith, Robb Wells
Achievement in direction
- Geneviève Dulude-DeCelles, Une colonie (A Colony)
- Sophie Dupuis, Chien de garde (Family First)
- Jasmin Mozaffari, Firecrackers
- Daniel Roby, Dans la brume (Just a Breath Away)
- Maxime Giroux, La Grande Noirceur (The Great Darkened Days)
Best reality/competition program or series:
- Big Brother Canada
- Canada’s Smartest Person Junior
- Knock Knock Ghost
- MasterChef Canada
- The Amazing Race Canada
Ted Rogers best feature length documentary
- Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
- Immaculate Memories: The Uncluttered Worlds of Christopher Pratt
- Letter from Masanjia
- La Part du diable (The Devil’s Share)
- What Walaa Wants
The Canadian Screen Awards broadcast is airing on CBC-TV and CBC Gem streaming service at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 31.
This story originally appeared on CBC