Canadian Screen Awards 2019 – Night One
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(March 27, 2019 – Toronto, ON) To say the venue for last night’s kick off of the awards portion of Screen Week is huge, or massive, or cavernous is an under statement. I’m not sure there is an appropriate word to describe the vastness of Exhibition Place. Despite this, media videographers and still camera photographers were crammed into such a small space the invitation to attend the event carried the request “please refrain from using a tripod, as space is limited.” Limited isn’t the proper word either. Nonexistent is better. So tight was the space that the names of the various media outlets, printed on standard letter-size paper were overlapping in some places, each outlet assigned just 11-inches but in reality it was actually less than that. I’m not saying that covering these things is some sort of special hell, but it wasn’t a very happy group, essentially there to provide the Canadian Screen Awards with free publicity.
It was nice to say hello to familiar faces. I asked Rick Mercer (who went on to win for Best Host in a Live Program or Series) if he had seen Jann Arden’s new show and he had and he liked it.
The night itself went off without a hitch. It wasn’t broadcast so there was less pressure on everyone and it seemed like everyone was having fun. The near empty bar area pictured above became so packed at one point attendees created a special dance-like maneuver, drink in hand, pirouetting around each other for fear of spilling red wine down the front of a white shirt or dress. Hosted by Aisha Alfa, 53 awards were presented, including Best Documentary Program, Best News Special, Best Factual Series, and Best Lifestyle Program or Series. CBC did well as it usually does. Journalist Adrienne Arsenault picked up two of the coveted as yet unnamed trophies, one for best host or interviewer in a news or information program when she anchored coverage of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and another for best news or information segment when she was part of the team in Syria in a report titled The Ruins of Raqqa. That coverage also took an award for best photography, news or information.
Other awards in a night dedicated to non-fiction television and film production went to James Duthie (Best Sports Host, sponsored by MLSE); TSN’s Reborn – Basketball & Reconciliation in Rwanda (Best Sports Program or Series); CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme (Best National Newscast); Dawna Friesen (Best News Anchor, National); HGTV’s Property Brothers (Best Lifestyle Program or Series, sponsored by Corus Entertainment); The JUNO Awards (Best Live Entertainment Special); and TVOKids’ Science Max: Experiments at Large (Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series).
Niobe Thompson and Caroline Underwood won the Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series for Equus: Story of the Horse, receiving $25,000 in addition to being honoured with the Canadian Screen Award.
“Tonight’s award Gala honoured our Sports, News, Documentary, Factual, Talk and Reality programming – this important work is the some of the most-watched in our country,” said Beth Janson, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “We are proud to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of this diverse group of professionals.”
Among the programs honoured last night was Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert. It won two Canadian Screen Awards, one for its multimedia project, concept album and live performance, and another for The Secret Path concert special, which picked up and awards for best variety or entertainment special and best sound, non-fiction.
The complete list of winners is available online.