32nd annual Genie Award winners: Monsieur Lazhar on top, Viggo Mortensen, Vanessa Paradis

It didn't win the Oscar, but it did win six Genies.

Monsieur Lazhar, which was nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar (but came home empty-handed), snapped up the biggest collection of Genie Awards last night (March 8) in Toronto.

Philippe Falardeau's poignant drama, about the relationship between an elementary school class and an Algerian immigrant who becomes their substitute teacher, won six awards, including best motion picture and best adapted screenplay. Falardeau was named best director. Algerian comedian Fellag (or Mohamed Fellag) won best actor while 11-year-old Sophie Nélisse won best supporting actress.

The film also managed to beat two other Canadian films with more nominations.

Heading into the show, Café de Flore led with 13 nominations, followed by A Dangerous Method with 11, and Monsieur Lazhar with nine.

But the order reversed after the awards were handed out. David Cronenberg's period piece A Dangerous Method won five awards, including best supporting actor (Viggo Mortensen, who portrayed Sigmund Freud).

Mortensen won cheers when he said he brought some strong material to wrap the award in to take across the border and unfurled a Montreal Canadiens flag. Mortensen became a Canadiens fan while listening to Radio-Canada broadcasts when he lived in northern New York in the 1970s.

Jean-Marc Vallée's Café de Flore won three awards, including best actress for French star Vanessa Paradis (who was not in attendance).

The smash-hit Starbuck also won three awards, including best original screenplay. It also won the Cineplex Golden Reel Award, which goes to the film that topped the Canadian box office. Ken Scott's Quebec fertility comedy grossed over $3.5 million in Canada.

Anne Édmond's Nuit #1 won the Claude Jutra Award, which goes to a first-time director. Previous winners of this award include Xavier Dolan (J'ai tué ma mere), Sarah Polley (Away From Her), Julia Kwan (Eve and the Firehorse), and Falardeau.

La nuit, ells dansent (At Night, They Dance), which recently played in Vancouver at the Rendez-vous du cinema québécois et francophone, won the best documentary award.

The show was hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos. Cohost Andrea Martin had to pull out at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts.

Monsieur Lazhar is currently playing in Vancouver at Cineplex Odeon International Village and also plays tonight at 7 p.m. the Port Moody Canadian Film Festival at Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Drive, Port Moody).

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.

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