The Hamilton Spectator
‘The Porter’ leads Canadian Screen Award nominees
Top-nominated film, ‘Brother,’ based on novel set in Scarborough neighbourhood
Productions from Black creators topped the list of Canadian Screen Award nominees announced on Wednesday.
“The Porter,” a period TV drama about Black railway porters in 1920s Montreal, earned the most nominations overall with 19, including Best Drama Series and Best Lead Performer for stars Aml Ameen, Ronnie Rowe Jr. and Mouna Traoré.
The top nominated film is “Brother,” which is up for 14 awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Direction for Clement Virgo and Performance in a Leading Role for Lamar Johnson, who plays one of two Jamaican-Canadian brothers coming of age in a Scarborough housing complex in the 1990s. The movie was also written by Virgo, based on the novel by David Chariandy; Virgo is also nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category.
The movie will be in theatres March 17.
Meanwhile, “Revenge of the Black Best Friend,” a web satire by Amanda Parris that makes fun of the prejudices that keep Black actors underemployed, is nominated for a leading nine prizes in the digital categories, including Best Web Program or Series, Fiction; Best Writing
for Parris, and Best Lead Performance for stars Oluniké Adeliyi (who also stars in “The Porter”) and Araya Mengesha.
In a news release, Tammy Frick, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, said the nominations “reaffirm that our country has an immensely talented industry and we are lucky to call them Canadian.”
“Supporting these artists has never been more important and we are proud to be at the centre of those efforts.”
In the TV category, the series with the next highest nominations are, like “The Porter,” all CBC or CBC Gem entries. Comedy “Sort Of” and kids’ series “Detention Adventure” have 15 apiece while detective dramedy “Pretty Hard Cases,” which will end after its current third season, has 11.
“The Porter” is competing for Best Drama Series against CBC’s “Moonshine” and “SkyMed,” Global TV’s “Departure” and CTV’s “Transplant,” which won the prize in 2021 and ’22.
The Best Comedy Series nominees include “Sort Of,” CBC Gem’s “Fakes,” CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s “Astrid & Lilly Save the World,” CTV’s “Children Ruin Everything” and Crave’s “Letterkenny.”
“Sort Of,” which features a gender-fluid, South Asian millennial as the lead character, took the Best
Comedy Series Screen Award last year (and is also a Peabody Award winner), but none of its actors were nominated for performance prizes.
Executive producer Jennifer Kawaja told The Canadian Press that lead actors Bilal Baig, who is transfeminine, and Amanda Cordner, who is non-binary, chose not to submit their names for performance CSAs due to the “disappointing” gendered acting categories.
This year, with all performance categories gender neutral, Baig is nominated for Best Lead Performer in a Comedy while Cordner is up for Best Supporting Performer. Baig is also nominated for Best Writing in a comedy alongside series co-creator Fab Filippo.
In the film categories, the other Best Motion Picture contenders include Stéphane Lafleur’s “Viking” with 13 nominations, David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” with 11, and Anthony Shim’s “Riceboy Sleeps” with six.
A total of 145 awards in TV, film and digital media categories will be handed out at seven “intimate” awards presentations between April 11 and 14, according to the academy. You can see the full list of nominees at academy.ca.
The televised gala at which key prizes are given out will be replaced with a pretaped TV special April 16 at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, even though the CSAs are being presented in person for the first time since 2019 at Toronto’s Meridian Hall. “The Canadian Screen Awards With Samantha Bee” will be an hour-long special featuring interviews and highlights from the week’s prize presentations, the academy said.
It will also feature “exclusive access” to this year’s special award recipients, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine O’Hara and Simu Liu.
That format has raised concerns within the screen industry, with actors like Eugene Levy and Grace Lynn Kung of “Sort Of” wondering if it puts enough of a spotlight on Canadian talent.