Arts

7 reasons to be excited about this year's Canadian Screen Award nominations

Sort Of, Scarborough and Night Raiders lead Canada's annual celebration of the best in film and TV.

Sort Of, Scarborough and Night Raiders lead Canada's annual celebration of the best in film and TV

Kim's Convenience star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee poses with his Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor, Comedy, at the 2018 CSAs. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

The nominations for this year's Canadian Screen Awards were announced this morning, celebrating the best in Canada's 2021 film, television and digital media. And since scrolling through the hundreds of nominees is a somewhat daunting task, we did it for you!

From the awards' most diverse set of film nominations ever to an unexpected little 90210 reunion, here are 7 reasons why it was a pretty exciting day for some very talented Canadians.

CBC Arts!

Lovell Adams-Gray in 21 Black Futures: The Death News. (CBC Arts)

Ok, obviously we are a little biased. But to start things off on an unabashedly self-congratulatory note: our team here at CBC Arts received 10 nominations this year, including 2 for the final season of CBC Arts: Exhibitionists and another 8 for our collaboration with Obsidian Theatre, 21 Black Futures — the most in "web series or program" categories. Special shoutouts to our team members Lucius Dechausay and Amanda Parris, who each received two individual nominations (Dechausay for producing and directing 21 Black Futures and Parris for writing 21 Black Futures and hosting CBC Arts: Exhibitionists). Oh, and did we also mention Parris is receving a special Changemaker Award at the ceremony?

Sort Of is the new Schitt's Creek 

Bilal Baig and Aden Bedard in CBC's 'Sort Of.' (CBC)

With Schitt's Creek having finished its eligibility at last year's CSAs, there was a major opening in the TV categories. The much-deserving beneficiary? Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo's boundary-breaking Sort Of, which received the most nominations of any film or series at a whopping 13. The series stars Baig as nanny Sabi Mehboob, who is given a chance to move to Berlin in pursuit of something more than their clearly unsatisfying life. But after the mother of the children they nanny gets in a serious bike accident, Sabi decides to stay put in Toronto. Sabi's journey over the course of the first season earned a best comedy series nod, as well as 3 separate mentions for best writing in a comedy series. Here's to Sort Of being a CSAs staple for many years to come.

Scarborough and Night Raiders lead the film nominations...

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers in Danis Goulet's Night Raiders. (Elevation Pictures)

At 11 nominations apiece, the film categories were led by two homegrown highlights from this year's Toronto International Film Festival: Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson's Scarborough and Danis Goulet's Night Raiders. Both nominated for best motion picture, they collectively also received dual nominations for best director, best screenplay and a collective 5 acting nominations.

...which are the most diverse set of film nominations ever

The nominees for lead actor in the Canadian Screen Award film category. (Canadian Screen Awards)

Scarborough and Night Raiders were part of a Canadian Screen Award first: all five films nominated for best motion picture featured primarily BIPOC casts, with the other three nominees in the category being Ivan Grbovic's Drunken Birds, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings and Bretten Hannam's Wildhood. The film and television categories were also exceptionally diverse: half of the film nominees were BIPOC actors, while just under half of the TV acting nominees represented the same.

The Kim's Convenience cast gets its swan song

The cast of Kim's Convenience. (CBC)

For its final season, the Kim family got a very nice sendout from the CSAs: 10 nominations, including the most television acting nominations by far. Kim's cast members Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Simu Liu, Andrea Bang, Jean Yoon, Andrew Phung and Ben Beauchemin were all nominated, suggesting a very big night for the series when the awards are handed out in April.

It was a huge year for LGBTQ representation

Icesis Couture (left) and Gia Metric in looks for Canada's Drag Race Season 2. (Left: A Squared Photography / Right: Marc Roumi)

Queer storytelling had a huge morning. As noted, Sort Of — which features the first non-binary lead character ever on Canadian television — led the TV nominations, but it certainly didn't stop there. Canada's Drag Race got 9 mentions for its second season, Bretten Hannam's queer-themed film Wildhood received 6 nominations (including best motion picture) and one of the first gay Christmas TV movies, The Christmas Setup, was nominated for both best TV movie and for its star Ben Lewis (who has occasionally moonlighted as a CBC Arts writer). Oh, and RuPaul Charles himself also got a second nomination (in addition to one for producing Canada's Drag Race) for his voice performance in the CBC show The Bravest Knight (in case you're curious, it's about a young pumpkin farmer who wants to become the greatest knight who ever lived).

A little 90210 reunion at the CSAs

Jennie Garth and Jason Priestley on 90210. (Fox)

Finally, a little 1990s throwback was in the cards in the nominations, with regularly nominated Canadian actor Jason Priestley being joined by his former Beverly Hills 90210 co-star Jennie Garth. Priestley is up for his role on the Global comedy series Private Eyes, while Garth was nominated for her role in the Canadian-produced Lifetime movie Left For Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story (where she's somehow up against Full House alum Candace Cameron Bure). Canada, where 90s TV stars come to... get nominated for awards.

The Canadian Screen Awards will be celebrated Monday, April 4th through Friday, April 8th.

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