‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ nabs a 12 Genie noms
TORONTO (CP) – C.R.A.Z.Y., Jean-Marc Vallee’s funny but poignant story of an extraordinary young man growing up in Quebec, leads the nominations for the 26th annual Genie Awards, which celebrate the best in Canadian cinema.
It has 12 nods, including best picture. The comedy is also Canada’s official submission for the best foreign-film Oscar this year. The four other best-picture contenders include Deepa Mehta’s Water, the third in her elements trilogy which previously included Earth and Fire.
Familia, another Quebec film and Louise Archambault’s first feature, about what constitutes real family bonds, also made the cut, as did Michael Dowse’s It’s All Gone Pete Tong, a frenetic tale about a coke-addicted superstar DJ who learns he is going deaf.
The other best-picture entry is Michael McGowan’s Saint Ralph, about a Catholic teenager in the 1950s who decides to enter the Boston Marathon foot race, hoping for a miracle to cure his ailing mother.
Surprisingly, 2005 features from two of Canada’s most internationally famous directors, Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg, are not in the best-picture race.
Cronenberg’s A History of Violence was foreign financed and so did not qualify under the Genies’ complex Canadian content rules. Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies was eligible and did get five nominations, including best adapted screenplay for the director.
The 2006 Genies will be handed out March 13.
Paul Gratton, chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, which oversees the awards, says the nomination of C.R.A.Z.Y., which is also Canada’s top-grossing film of 2005, was no surprise.
“A gay coming-of-age story that’s been given a different and totally delightful original spin based on style and the use of pop music,” is how Gratton described it.
He also had praise for Mehta’s Water, recalling how the production had to shut down in India because of threats of violence from fundamentalists who objected to its story of the treatment of widows under ancient religious laws.
“I think it’s Deepa’s most accomplished and most beautiful film to date. It has a lyrical quality. . .and it builds subtly to a very moving climax.”
Water was a nominations runner-up with nine, including best director. It’s All Gone Pete Tong enjoyed eight, while Luc Picard’s L’Audition and Familia had seven each.
Best-actor nominees include Picard, Paul Kaye for Pete Tong and Adam Butcher for Saint Ralph. Campbell Scott and Gordon Pinsent are best supporting actor contenders for Saint Ralph.
Best actress nominees include Arsinee Khanjian for Sabah – A Love Story and Macha Grenon and Sylvie Moreau for Familia.
Academy president and CEO Maria Topalovitch called the nominees an “eclectic, wonderful group of films” and declined to comment on the absence of Egoyan and Cronenberg, whose films appeared together at both the Cannes and Toronto International Film Festivals last year.
Topalovitch conceded that while things are improving, Canadian films still have a struggle getting exposed to Canadian theatre-going audiences.
“We’re in a unique situation, situated right next to the largest entertainment machine in the world,” she said. “But the Genie Awards are part of a national passion to raise awareness.”
She said the nominated titles are actually doing quite well, especially C.R.A.Z.Y. and Familia which are doing huge box office in Quebec, and she will be watching to see if C.R.A.Z.Y. makes the foreign-film category when Academy Award nominations are announced next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Genies will be telecast for the third year in a row on CHUM stations across Canada (Citytv, Bravo, Star and MusiMax). CHUM continues to tinker with the format, last year setting it in a nightclub atmosphere. This year the one-hour telecast will actually begin in an after-the-awards party setting. The handing out of the hardware will take place first, with excerpts played back during the live backstage show.
Marcie Martin, executive producer at CHUM, believed that would make for a better show, especially after last year when the awards were top-heavy with Quebec winners who chose to make their acceptance speeches in French, which, Martin says, didn’t make for the best English-language TV and didn’t do as much to help promote the titles for anglophone audiences.
Here are the nominees in key categories for the 2006 Genie Awards, honouring the best in Canadian-made cinema:
Best Motion Picture: C.R.A.Z.Y. (Pierre Even, Jean-Marc Vallee); Familia (Luc Dery); It’s All Gone Pete Tong (Elizabeth Yake, Allan Niblo, James Richardson); Saint Ralph (Michael Souther, Teza Lawrence, Andrea Mann, Seaton McLean); Water (David Hamilton)
Direction: Luc Picard (L’Audition); Jean-Marc Vallee (C.R.A.Z.Y.); Louise Archambault (Familia); Michael Dowse (It’s All Gone Pete Tong); Deepa Mehta (Water)
Actor in a leading role: Luc Picard (L’Audition); Michael Cote (C.R.A.Z.Y.); Marc-Andre Grondin (C.R.A.Z.Y.); Paul Kaye (It’s All Gone Pete Tong); Adam Butcher (Saint Ralph)
Actor in a supporting role: Denis Bernard (L’Audition); Remy Girard (Aurore); Bernard Starlight (Hank Williams First Nation); Campbell Scott (Saint Ralph); Gordon Pinsent (Saint Ralph)
Actress in a leading role: Macha Grenon (Familia); Sylvie Moreau (Familia); Arsinee Khanjian (Sabah – A Love Story); Gina Chiarelli (See Grace Fly); Seema Biswas (Water)
Actress in a supporting role: Suzanne Clement (L’Audition); Marianne Fortier (Aurore); Danielle Proulx (C.R.A.Z.Y.); Micheline Lanctot (Familia); Babz Chula (Seven Times Lucky)
Original Screenplay: Luc Picard (L’Audition); Jean-Marc Vallee, Francois Boulay (C.R.A.Z.Y.); Louise Archambault (Familia); Michael Dowse (It’s All Gone Pete Tong); Deepa Mehta (Water)
Sorry, but the best Canadian film I saw last year was “Maurice Richard” and it isn’t even nominated!!!
‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ nabs a 12 Genie noms