With a heavy thud, the Canadian Screen Awards, a blending of the former Gemini and Genie awards, announced its nominees Monday morning.
If the Canadian prizes are unable to compete with the Emmys and Oscars when it comes to prestige, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television apparently are compensating with sheer size. In the Academy's ponderous press release, the TV awards alone took up 46 pages with popular categories (best dramatic series) alongside more obscure nominations (best editorial research; best sound in an information/documentary or lifestyle program or series).
Within those pages, Manitoba-made television product certainly fared better than theatrical films, with multiple nominations for the final season of Less Than Kind and locally lensed TV movies We Were Children, Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story and the Jack Layton biopic Jack.
The CBC's Janet Stewart was nominated in the category of best local anchor and CBC News Winnipeg also copped a nomination for best local reportage.
Less Than Kind, the caustically funny saga of a dysfunctional Winnipeg family, delivered the biggest potential award riches with acting nominations for cast members Jesse Camacho, Wendel Meldrum, Nancy Sorel, Tyler Johnston, Nicholas Campbell and Colin Cunningham. It also scored nominations for director Kelly Makin, casting director Jim Heber and writers Garry Campbell, Mark McKinney, Chris Sheasgreen and Marvin Kaye.
As usual, Winnipeg production company Frantic Films made a good showing in lifestyle/doc TV categories with nominations for the series Engraved on a Nation, an eight-part history of the Grey Cup, and the food series Pitchin' In.
Locally shot TV movies Mr. Hockey and Jack not only scored nominations in the best TV movie category, the received acting nominations for stars Michael Shank, Rick Roberts and Sook-Yin Lee (Jack) and Kathleen Robertson (Mr. Hockey). Winnipeg makeup artist Doug Morrow was also nominated for his work in Jack.
The Eagle Vision doc We Were Children was nominated in four categories including best photography, production design, sound and best history documentary program (in which it is competing with Frantic's Engraved on a Nation.)
Former Winnipegger Dawna Friesen goes up against Peter Mansbridge and Lisa LaFlamme in the best national news anchor category.
Manitoba films were shut out in theatrical categories. Adding injury to insult: Not one of the films in the best motion picture category, including Empire of Dirt, Tom at the Farm and The F-Word, have had any kind of theatrical release in Winnipeg outside of festival screenings.
The Canadian Screen Awards will be handed out over three evenings on March 4-5 and March 9.
See full list of nominations at www.winnipegfreepress.com.