Montreal's gaming giant UbiSoft and Vancouver-based animation house Studio B Productions have topped the nominee list of Canada's video game and animation version of the Oscars.
Organizers of the fledgling Canadian Awards for the Electronic and Animated Arts announced Wednesday its inaugural batch of nominees, who will compete for the "Elan" trophy at the award's September gala in Richmond, B.C.
Peter Jackson's King Kong, the video game inspired by the filmmaker's recent remake of the Hollywood classic, tied with Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones in leading the electronic gaming nominees. Both titles scored seven nominations each and were produced by UbiSoft.
Among the animation contenders, Studio B came out on top, scoring 18 nominations for their award-winning children's television shows, including Being Ian, The Amazing Adrenilini Brothers, Class of the Titans and Pucca.
Overall, organizers will present "Elan" trophies in 17 electronic gaming categories (including game of the year, animated hero of the year and animated villain of the year), 15 animation categories (including best animated production) and 13 categories earmarked for students studying new media and animation art.
In addition to honouring established players in Canada's domestic video game and animation community, the awards will shine a spotlight on young, emerging talent — an important component, said Michael O'Brien, a manager for Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment.
"They work so hard," O'Brien told CBC News. "For the ones who are in school, it's a career move.[They're not] just going to school to take a class."
Male, female forms combine for trophy
The organizers also unveiled Wednesdaythe two-sided statuette that will be presented to the winners. The Elan trophy depicts a male figure, which represents electronic gaming, standing back-to-back against a female figure, who symbolizes animation.
Betweenthe dramatic trophy and the fact that they've secured Canadian-born Hollywood star William Shatner to be host, the organizers hope to invoke the feel of more established, sophisticated award shows like the Oscars or Grammys.
"We want the show to be spectacular. I am very serious about Oscar dress and black tie," said Holly Carinci, who is the publicist for the awards and producer of the gala. "Trying to get Canadians to do that is sometimes a little difficult."
The awards will be handed out at Richmond's River Rock Show Theatre on Sept. 14.