Schitt’s Creek and Blood Quantum have emerged as the top contenders at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards. Or, more accurately, CBC’s comedy lineup has.
The final season of the beloved CBC sitcom accrued 21 nominations in the television and digital media subset of the Screenies, with Kim’s Convenience and Workin’ Moms pulling 11 nominations apiece; cast members of the three programs account for 23 of the 25 available acting nominations. (Jared Keeso, co-creator and star of the Bell Media series Letterkenny, is up for best actor; Elisha Cuthbert scored a guest performance nomination for her appearance on Jann.)
Much like last year, Schitt’s Creek was showered with nominations at every turn. Eugene and Daniel Levy’s sitcom is in contention for best comedy series, best comedy direction (twice, with Jordan Canning nominated for Sunrise, Sunset and Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy sharing a nomination for the series finale) and best writing (Daniel Levy, also for the series finale).
Both Levys are up for best actor in a comedy, and their costars Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara are both nominated for best actress in a comedy. Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire, Noah Reid, Karen Robinson, and Jennifer Robinson all received supporting nominations, and Rizwan Manji and Victor Garber scored guest-performance nods.
Schitt’s 21 nominations put it well ahead of any other comedy—its closest competition, Kim’s Convenience and Workin’ Moms, pulled 11 nominations apiece—while the leaders in the dramatic category, CTV’s Cardinal: Until The Night and CBC’s Trickster, each earned 15 nominations. Cardinal’s recognitions include a nod for best drama series; Trickster’s did not.
The Academy’s statement on Trickster is that “the program was not up for consideration in the Best Series, Drama or the Best Direction, Drama Series categories”. It is perhaps worth noting that both of those categories would have necessarily acknowledged producer-director Michelle Latimer, who left the production last December after questions were raised about her Indigenous identity. CBC subsequently announced the show wouldn’t be returning for a second season.
Speaking of shows that won’t be returning: while the nominations for Kim’s Convenience are specific to its 2020 season, it’ll be interesting to see whether the recent announcement of that show coming to an end this year trigger a groundswell of support from Academy voters.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, and Andrew Phung are all nominated once again for best actor, best actress, and best supporting actor, respectively, with Amanda Brugel up for a guest performance award. (Phung has won three times before, Lee twice; Yoon has never won, as Schitt’s Creek’s O’Hara has owned the best actress category since 2016.) Kim’s is also nominated for best direction, best writing—twice—and editing, photography, and casting.
Catherine Reitman’s Workin’ Moms is up for 11 nods as well, seven of them for its cast. Reitman and Dani Kind are both up for best actress; Ryan Belleville and Peter Keleghan are nominated for supporting actor; Sarah McVie and Juno Rinaldi are nominated for supporting actress; and Colin Mochrie is nominated for guest performance. The series is also up for best comedy series (alongside Schitt’s, Kim’s, Letterkenny and Baroness Von Sketch Show), director (Reitman), photography, and picture editing.
The dramatic nominations were spread a little wider. Burden Of Truth, Departure, Transplant , and Vikings were nominated alongside Cardinal for best drama series, with writing nominations going to Transplant, Trickster, Wynonna Earp, and two Cardinal episodes.
Cardinal’s Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse were nominated for best actor and actress, as were Trickster’s Joel Oulette and Crystle Lightning and Burden Of Truth’s Peter Mooney and Kristin Kreuk; Coroner’s Roger Cross and Transplant’s Hamza Haq are also in contention for best actor; while Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine and Wynonna Earp’s Melanie Scrofano are up for best actress.
And while Jann Arden wasn’t nominated for her autofictional role in Jann, the actor and performer scored two nominations as her actual self. She’s up for best host, talk show or entertainment news for her special Jann Arden: One Night Only, and for best host, live entertainment special for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize broadcast.
In the film section, Jeff Barnaby’s Indigenous horror film Blood Quantum scored 10 film nominations…though neither best picture nor best director was among them. Barnaby is up for both editing and his original screenplay, however, and Michael Greyeyes was nominated as best lead actor.
Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy earned nine nominations, including best picture, director, adapted screenplay (for Shyam Selvadurai and Mehta), and supporting actress (Agam Darshi), while Charles Officer’s Akilla’s Escape is up for eight awards, including best original screenplay (for Officer and Wendy Brathwaite), actor (Saul Williams) and supporting actor nominations for Thamela Mpumlwana and Ronnie Rowe, Jr.
Tracey Deer’s Beans, Pascal Plante’s Nadia, Butterfly, Sean Durkin’s domestic drama The Nest, and Sophie Dupuis’s Underground are in contention for best picture alongside Funny Boy. Beans is also nominated for the John Dunning best first feature award alongside The Kid Detective, Grace Glowicki’s Tito, Neegan Trudel’s Vacarme, and Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli’s Violation. (Sims-Fewer is also nominated for best actress, and her costar Jesse LaVercombe scored a supporting-actor nod.)
Mehta, Plante, Durkin, and Dupuis are all nominated for best director, along with Possessor’s Brandon Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s evocative body-swapping thriller is also up for casting and makeup.
Nominated alongside Greyeyes and Williams for best actor are Falling’s Lance Henriksen, Castle In The Ground’s Alex Wolff and Underground’s Joakim Robillard.
Sims-Fewer’s fellow nominees for best actress are French Exit’s Michelle Pfeiffer, The Nest’s Carrie Coon, Rustic Oracle’s Carmen Moore, and Vacarme’s Rosalie Pépin.
In addition to LaVercombe, Mpumlwana, and Rowe, Stephen McHattie and Colm Feore are nominated for their supporting turns in Come To Daddy and Sugar Daddy, respectively; Bone Cage’s Amy Groening, Happy Place’s Mary Walsh, Laughter’s Micheline Lanctôt, and Tammy’s Always Dying’s Felicity Huffman are nominated alongside Funny Boy’s Darshi for supporting actress.
The Forbidden Reel, Stateless, Wandering: A Rohingya Story, A Woman, My Mother, and The World Is Bright are all nominated for the Ted Rogers feature-length documentary award.
The Canadian Screen Awards will be handed out over a series of ceremonies during Canadian Screen Week, to be held from May 17 to 20. For a full nomination slate visit the Academy website.