I've been sick with the flu for the last week, and slept right through Tuesday's launch of the new Canadian Screen Awards.
The long-promised rebranding and fusion of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television's film and TV awards (formerly known as the Genies and the Geminis) will consolidate two often-lumpy awards ceremonies into one streamlined event - this year's on March 3, to be hosted by Martin Short and aired live on CBC.
The new name allows the Academy to recognize digital media along with features, documentaries and television, or at least sound more cutting-edge when it talks about its awards. Which is nice, I guess, if ultimately meaningless. Remember, the last time a (mostly) respected cultural cinematic institution tried to shake up its image the result was "Oscar Host James Franco."
The nominations suggest the Academy remains resistant to truly changing its game. The delightful hockey comedy Goon scored a number of worthy nominations, including an Adapted Screenplay nod for Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, Best Supporting Actor nods for both Baruchel and Kim Coates and a Best Director nod for Michael Dowse ... but the film was passed over for a Best Motion Picture slot.
Instead, the Academy went with safer, eminently respectable choices - the politically charged dramas Inch'Allah, Midnight's Children and Rebelle; the Quebec docudrama L'Affaire Dumont; Xavier Dolan's transgender epic Laurence Anyways and Michael McGowan's autumnal melodrama Still Mine, which played last year's Toronto Film Festival as Still.
Dolan, Rebelle's Kim Nguyen and Midnight's Children helmer Deepa Mehta are all up for Best Director, along with Dowse and Bernard Émond (All That You Possess). By this point, you're probably wondering whether David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis was even eligible for consideration this year. It was, but it's only been tapped for three nominations - Best Score, Best Original Song and Best Adapted Screenplay - which comes as a genuine shock, especially given how much love the Academy showered on the director's A Dangerous Method last year. Maybe they really are shaking things up.
The acting categories are intriguing. The Best Actor award seems likely to go to Melvil Poupaud for his bravura turn in Laurence Anyways, though James Cromwell's soulful obstinacy in Still Mine could mount a challenge - or maybe it'll be Marc-André Grondin's seedy victim of persecution in L'Affaire Dumont. David Morse's nomination for Collaborator is a head-scratcher - it's a supporting role, opposite genuine lead Martin Donovan - but ultimately irrelevant, as is Patrick Drolet's nomination for All That You Possess.
Best Actress similarly seems sewn up by the young Rebelle star Rachel Mwanza, who wraps that film's complex emotional threads in her thoroughly compelling performance ... though if Laurence Anyways sweeps, the Academy might go for Suzanne Clément instead. Geneviève Bujold in Still Mine, Marilyn Castonguay in L'Affaire Dumont and Evelyne Brochu in Inch'Allah all have their work cut out for them.
Best Feature-Length Documentary is likely to pull some heat this year, with Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell and Nisha Pahuja's The World Before Her vying for the prize along with Hugo Latulippe's Alphée Des Étoiles, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's Indie Game: The Movie and Brigitte Poupart's Over My Dead Body.
But the Short Documentary category is packed with winners, too: Ariel Nasr's The Boxing Girls Of Kabul, Igor Drlajaca's The Fuse: Or How I Burned Simon Bolivar, Deco Dawson's Keep A Modest Head and Zaheed Mawani's Three Walls are all terrific, which makes me very eager to see the fifth nominee, Jeffrey St. Jules's Let The Daylight Into The Swamp. Really, I don't care what the Academy calls its awards as long as they keep seeking out worthwhile films to embrace.
Oh, and some TV stuff too, I guess.