10 takes from the Canadian Screen Award nominations, where women rule and Anne leads the way

If you don't have time to sift through 100+ categories, don't worry — we've done some homework for you.

If you don't have time to sift through 100+ categories, don't worry — we've done some homework for you

Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne Shirley in Anne, the newest adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel. It is currently airing on CBC-TV. (Caitlin Cronenberg)

The sixth annual Canadian Screen Awards were announced this morning, with hundreds of nominees across dozens and dozens (and dozens) of categories. It took us all morning just to read through them all, and if you just can't quite find the time to do the same, we've rounded up some highlights for you. (See the full list of nominees here.)

CBC Arts nabbed two of the five nominations in the best biography or arts documentary program category for Exhibitionists and Interrupt This Program, respectively. (Canadian Screen Awards)

CBC Arts for the win(s)!

Is it okay if we start things off with a not-so-humble-brag? Well, we're going to anyway: CBC Arts' series Exhibitionists and Interrupt This Program collectively received four nominations, including going head-to-head in the best biography or arts documentary program or series. In addition, ITP is nominated for best documentary of factual series (congrats, Karen Cho!), best photography, documentary or factual (congrats, Van Royko!) and best direction.

Amybeth McNulty appears in CBC's Anne, the latest adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's classic literary heroine Anne Shirley. (CBC)

Anne leads the way

CBC had a very good day, with the noted love for CBC Arts representing just a teeny portion of a massive haul of 180 nominations. Of them, 13 went to Anne — the critically-acclaimed update of Anne of Green Gables — which was the most of any film or TV program across the board. Kim's Convenience was just behind with 12, while Schitt's Creek and Alias Grace each nabbed 11. 

The very female nominees for writing in a drama series. (Canadian Screen Awards)

Women (almost) ruled in the writing and directing categories

With so much discussion about the generally pathetic lack of female representation in writing and directing categories at American award shows as of late, the CSAs have proven themselves an outlier. Led in part by the teams behind the aforementioned Anne and Alias Grace, the TV categories for directing and writing a comedy, drama or limited series have 9 female-represented nominations out of 15 (including the entire category for writing a drama series save the co-nomination for Orphan Black's Graeme Manson). On the movie side, women made up two of the five directing nominations and seven of the 12 for writing. Your move, Oscar.

Sally Hawkins as Maud Lewis in the film Maudie. (Duncan Deyoung/Mongrel Media)

Sally Hawkins is looking like the only CSA/Oscar crossover

Or at least sort of. British-born Hawkins got her first CSA nomination for her portrayal of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis in Maudie, which also got nods for best motion picture and best supporting actor (for Hawkins' co-star Ethan Hawke). Next week, it's almost certain she'll get an Oscar nod too — but for Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water (which, although Del Toro is basically a Torontonian now and Shape was filmed there, the film is not a Canadian production and thus ineligible). Fun fact that throws some good luck Hawkins' way: two years ago, Julianne Moore managed the same feat when she nominated for a CSA for Maps to the Stars and an Oscar for Still Alice. She lost the CSA to Anne Dorval (for Mommy) but took home that Oscar. With all due respect to the CSAs, we suspect Hawkins would be okay with that outcome too.

Sladen Peltier plays the young Saul in the film version of Richard Wagamese's novel Indian Horse. The character also happens to be the Ottawa boy's first acting role. (CBC)

The young star of Indian Horse gets nominated 

11-year-old Sladen Peltier was the talk of TIFF for his performance in Indian Horse, which tells the story of Saul Indian Horse (played by Peltier), an Ojibway boy sent to residential school who finds respite in the game of hockey. He actually only got the role because his mom found a flyer when he was in Toronto for a hockey tournament. "So she asked me, 'Do you want to audition for a movie?' And I was like, 'Yeah!'" he told CBC News last fall. "I didn't think I was going to get it, because it was my first time ever auditioning for a movie." And now he's competing against Ethan Hawke for an award. 

Hochelaga, terre des âmes, directed by Quebecer François Girard, has been chosen to represent Canada for the best foreign-language film Oscar. (Séville Films)

Canada's Oscar submission gets snubbed for best picture

Four of the five winners of the CSA for best motion picture have gone to Canada's official entry to the Oscars (War Witch, Gabrielle, Mommy and It's Only The End of the World). But this year — for the first time — the submission isn't even nominated. François Girard's Hochelaga, Land of Souls — a generations-spanning look at the history of Montreal — did receive eight nominations, but not for best motion picture or director.

Tatiana Maslany, star of the sci-fi show Orphan Black, shows off her two acting awards backstage during the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto March 12, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

Tatiana Maslany gets a swan song nomination for Orphan Black, but the show itself is snubbed

Another surprising snub was the lack of the final season of Orphan Black in the dramatic series category — an award it's won three times. It did manage a nomination for Tatiana Maslany and various below-the-line mentions (including Orphan Black: The Game being nominated for best cross-platform project), but its final total for the big prize will finish at three (unless it's revived one day, which no one should count out anymore).

Martin Short at the 2016 CSAs. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Martin Short gets a nod...for The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween!

Former CSA host and general Canadian comedy icon Martin Short can add another laurel to his long list...but it's an odd one. In the best performance, animation category, Short will compete against the voice casts of the TV shows Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania for his work in the Dr. Seuss adaptation The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! (that exclamation point is theirs, not ours).

Rick Mercer.

Rick Mercer v. Rick Mercer

Someone's having a good morning. Rick Mercer, fresh off announcing the end of his Rick Mercer Report, will compete against himself in the best host in a live program or series, with nominations for both Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast and Canada's New Year's Eve - Countdown to 2017. Will he cancel himself out and let Bryan Adams and Russell Peters sneak a win for the Junos, or Howie Mandel for his work hosting last year's CSAs? Even if he does, he'll definitely be taking home a special "Academy icon" award, and has another nomination for performance in a sketch comedy. Way to go out on top, Mr. Mercer.

Howie Mandel arrives on the red carpet at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 12, 2017. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The Canadian Screen Awards got nominated for a Canadian Screen Award

In addition to Mandel's nominations, it looks like the CSAs are feeling a little proud of themselves...last year's CSAs ceremony is nominated for best live entertainment special. Hey, if CBC Arts can congratulate themselves on CBC arts, we can't judge the CSAs!

Winners will be announced at various events during the academy's annual Canadian Screen Week celebrations, which culminate in the televised Canadian Screen Awards gala in Toronto on March 11. The broadcast ceremony begins at 8 p.m. ET, with the proceedings aired live by CBC.

About the Author

Peter Knegt has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and playing integral roles in the launch and production of series The Filmmakers and Canada's a Drag. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also a stand-up comedian, the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.


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