Canadian Screen Awards 2018: Heather Hiscox, The Fifth Estate, APTN win top awards

CBC anchor Heather Hiscox, investigative series The Fifth Estate and Indigenous journalists and stories were top winners Tuesday night at the Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs).

1st gala of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's week-long celebration

A woman in a blue gown holds up a golden trophy.
CBC News Network host Heather Hiscox said she shared her best national news anchor trophy, in part, with her morning viewers. (David Donnelly/CBC)

CBC anchor Heather Hiscox, investigative series The Fifth Estate and Indigenous journalists and stories were top winners Tuesday night at the Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs). 

Honouring achievements in television news, sports, documentary, lifestyle, factual and reality categories, Tuesday's ceremony — hosted by comedian and The Beaverton co-anchor Miguel Rivas — marked the first night of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's week-long annual celebration.

Hiscox, host of CBC News Network's Morning Live, took home one of the evening's high-profile honours: best national news anchor. In addition to thanking her CBC colleagues and her family, she also gave a shout-out to her early-rising audience.

"I share this finally with my morning viewers, for whom I still sprint out of bed happily at 2:30 every single morning," she said as she took the stage.

"We share a daily conversation; we learn together about Canada and the world. That is a privilege, a prize in itself. This is a beautiful bonus and I thank you for it."

The Fifth Estate took two awards: best news or information series and best host or interviewer for a news or information program or series, which went to the show's Gillian Findlay.

"We're all in the same business," Fifth Estate executive producer Jim Williamson said onstage, acknowledging all the news and information series nominees. "We have to make sure investigative journalism survives."

CBC News: The Fifth Estate executive producers Julian Sher, left, and Jim Williamson pose with the Canadian Screen Award for best news or information series in Toronto on Tuesday. (David Donnelly/CBC News)

CBC programming won 18 of the night's 49 categories, including:

  • Best local news anchor: Andrew Chang, British Columbia Votes, CBC British Columbia.
  • Best local newscast: Vancouver at 6, CBC British Columbia.
  • Best local reportage: Vancouver at 6, CBC British Columbia.
  • Best host in a live program or series: Rick Mercer, Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast.
  • Best variety or entertainment special: P.K. Subban: Shots Fired (Juste Pour Rire TV).
  • Rob Stewart Award for best science or nature documentary program or series: The Wild Canadian Year.
  • Best history documentary program or series: Lost Secrets of the Pyramid, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki.
  • Best original music, non-fiction: Gord Downie, Kevin Drew, Dave Hamelin, The Secret Path.
  • Best photography, news or information: "Dancing Towards the Light," CBC News: The National.

Indigenous journalists, stories shine

Indigenous media took a central part of the evening's spotlight, including with the presentation of the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism to Karyn Pugliese, APTN's executive director of news and current affairs.

Karyn Pugliese, APTN’s executive director of news and current affairs, attends the CSA gala. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Historically, "we've had so few chances to share our stories with other Canadians," Pugliese said in accepting the career achievement honour.

Since APTN's introduction almost two decades ago, she added, "we've been able to tell you our struggles, our pride and our hopes."

The network's program APTN Investigates also won the best news or information segment category for "Against Their Will," a report exploring the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in Saskatoon.

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer delivered one of the night's most passionate speeches when she took the stage to accept the best documentary program trophy for the Viceland series Rise

"Who would have thought in a year when we made a series about Indigenous resistance, we would see the largest grassroots Indigenous resistance in 150 years at Standing Rock?" Latimer declared to loud applause.

"We don't have to be formatted shows from other countries. We can be our own shows, with our own stories, supporting our own people and valuing all lives to make this place a better country for everyone."

"For so long we've had people telling our stories. Now we have people in our communities who can tell them," Latimer told CBC News immediately after the win, adding that the issues explored in Rise are relevant to everyone, not just Indigenous people.

"It's actually everybody's story. We're looking at land. We're looking at resource management. We're looking at how are we are going to live sustainably on this planet, so that we have a future — all of us together."

More wins for Amazing Race Canada

The Amazing Race Canada was among the programs that picked up multiple awards, taking home four trophies for its most recent, Canada 150-themed season. Other winners on Tuesday night included:

  • Best national reportage: "Ontario's Troubled Probation System," Global National.
  • Best news or information program: Terror, Viceland.
  • Best sports analyst: Jack Armstrong, Raptors Basketball on TSN.
  • Best live sports event: 2016 MLS Cup, TSN.
  • Best sports host: James Duthie, 2017 TradeCentre, TSN.
  • Best children's or youth non-fiction program or series: Science Max: Experiments at Large, TVOKids.
  • Best biography or arts documentary program or series: Rush: Time Stand Still, HBO Canada.
  • Best factual series: Mayday, Discovery Channel.
  • Best talk program or series: The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV.
  • Best lifestyle program or series: Property Brothers, HGTV.
  • Best live entertainment special: The Juno Awards 2017, CTV.
  • Best news special: "Fort McMurray: The Road Back," Global News Edmonton.
Peter Mansbridge and Cheryl Hickey were among the presenters at the Canadian Screen Awards non-fiction gala. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The celebrations continue Wednesday with a gala honouring creative fiction, including drama, children's and youth, comedy and variety categories. On Thursday, the academy will honour digital and immersive storytelling.

The festivities culminate on Sunday with the broadcast gala, which will honour film and the remaining television categories. Hosted by actor-comedians Jonny Harris and Emma Hunter, the show will be broadcast on CBC at 8 p.m., except 9 p.m. AT and 9:30 p.m. NT.

The Social co-hosts, from left, Melissa Grelo, Marci Ien, Jessica Allen, singer-songwriter Jann Arden, Lainey Lui and Cynthia Loyst attend the gala. (David Donnelly/CBC)