Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black.
Early Monday morning, as America's shiniest celebrities were just getting home from their Golden Globes after-afterparties, the Academy Of Canadian Film & Television launched the latest blast of the awards season.
Coming less than a week after the Toronto Film Critics Association's big-deal gala and just a few days before the Oscar nominations are announced, this year's Canadian Screen Awards launch conference assembled the best and brightest of English Canadian movie and television talent to listen to two increasingly uncomfortable actors mangle their names over and over again.
In fairness, I can't blame presenters Katheryn Winnick (star of the History Channel series Vikings) and David Sutcliffe (star of CBC's Cracked) for stumbling over a sea of unfamiliar names; as Winnick admitted about two-thirds of the way through the launch, they hadn't been given a look at the nomination lists beforehand.
I do, however, wonder whether Sutcliffe repeatedly referring to Jason Priestley's dark comedy as "Call Me Fritz" speaks to some sort of rivalry between the crews of his show and Priestley's, which actually goes by Call Me Fitz.
The television nominations were spread out nicely, with Space's clone thriller Orphan Black on top with 14 nods, including the obvious Best Actress nom for Tatiana Maslany's multifaceted turn as several main characters. (Maslany is also nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance in Cas And Dylan - the film's sole nomination.)
Maslany's Orphan Black co-stars were all over the supporting nominations, with Michael Mando, Jordan Gavaris and Kevin Hanchard all up for Supporting Actor, Maria Doyle Kennedy in the Supporting Actress race and Natalie Lisinska on the Guest Role short list.
Less Than Kind scored nine nominations, while Call Me Fitz, Flashpoint and Seed landed eight apiece; Rookie Blue and The Borgias are down for seven apiece, with Rookie Blue claiming two additional nods for its digital-media work.
Over in the film section, an unprecedented eight titles were nominated for Best Motion Picture: The Dismantlement, Empire Of Dirt, Enemy, The F Word, Gabrielle, The Grand Seduction, Maïna and Tom At The Farm.
The CSA's eligibility criteria for films are similar to that used by TIFF for Canada's Top Ten, allowing the nomination of movies that have played the festival circuit but won't open commercially until later in the year. Only two of them - Peter Stebbings's Empire Of Dirt and Louise Archambault's Gabrielle - have reached Toronto screens outside of film festivals; the rest will trickle out in the months to come.
Denis Villeneuve's Enemy leads the pack with 10 nominations, including Picture, Director, Actor (for Jake Gyllenhaal), Supporting Actress (Sarah Gadon), Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography. Close behind is Xavier Dolan's Tom At The Farm, which picked up eight nominations - but, perhaps tellingly, not a Best Actor nod for Dolan himself. (He's nominated in his capacities as the film's producer, director and co-writer, but the failure to acknowledge his leading performance has to sting.)
Up for six nominations apiece are Gabrielle, Maïna and the Canadian co-production The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, which scored the annual Golden Reel Award for the highest-grossing Canadian release of the year. City Of Bones, which was positioned as the first in a series of adaptations of Cassandra Clare's novels, earned over $5.2 million at the Canadian box-office in 2013.
Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky's Watermark, which won the $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award at last week's TFCA gala, was nominated for Best Feature Length Documentary. Also in competition for that award are Hi-Ho Mistahey!, My Prairie Home, People Of A Feather and Vanishing Point.
The Canadian Screen Awards will be held at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts on March 9, with Martin Short returning as host. A complete list of nominees is online at the Academy Of Canadian Cinema & Television websuite.