Genies have a lot to celebrate in ’07
TORONTO (CP) – It’s not every year that the movies nominated for best picture at the Genie Awards are actually films that Canadians are talking about.
But with the box office and critical success in 2006 of “Bon Cop, Bad Cop,” “Trailer Park Boys: The Movie” and “The Rocket” in English Canada – a notoriously difficult market to crack for Canadian filmmakers – there’s a genuine sense of excitement and optimism surrounding this year’s gala.
All three movies are up for best picture at Tuesday’s ceremony in Toronto, alongside “Guide de la petite vengeance (The Little Book of Revenge)” and “Un Dimanche a Kigali (A Sunday in Kigali),” both popular films in Quebec but not in English Canada.
“We’re catching a wave and a certain momentum, and that can only bode well for the future of the Genies,” Paul Gratton, chairman of the Genies, said in a recent interview. “There are at least three titles there out of the five that have had very successful careers in English Canada. That’s a considerable achievement.”
Gratton says he remembers years that were starkly different in terms of best-picture nominees.
“There have been some years when I’ve been very conscious of the fact that there was a pretty thin array of titles that we were presenting for best picture – and some years it’s very obvious who the winner is, end of story,” said Gratton, who’s also vice-president of entertainment specialty channels at CHUM.
“But this year, it’s not that obvious and I’d say there are at least two or three front-runners. It’s hard to say which way it’s going to go. I was pleased to see the jury went for some recognizable titles because there’s often a disconnect between critical acceptance and popular acceptance.”
Does that mean more Canadians will tune in for the show and the festivities at the after-party, airing on CHUM stations on Tuesday night beginning at 9 p.m. in all time zones?
Gratton hopes so, but is quick to add that ratings are not what the Genies – in their 27th year – are all about.
“If you look at the history of the Oscars and their relationship with the television ratings, there’s a direct relationship between whether a front-running film has had extraordinary box office or not,” he said.
“But I don’t think the Genies value themselves exclusively in terms of its TV audience – part of it is simply the amount of attention that’s paid to Canadian movies surrounding the whole event. It’s a celebration.”
This year the Trailer Park Boys – in character as Ricky, Julian and Bubbles – will be on hand for the Genies, as will American actress Sigourney Weaver, nominated for best actress for her role in “Snow Cake.”
“She’s obviously very committed to that role and to promoting it,” Gratton says. “I am really looking forward to a good show.”
And this year, in particular, Gratton says, there’s a lot to celebrate.
Canadian filmmakers are hot right now. Amid the success of “Trailer Park Boys” and “Bon Cop, Bad Cop” – considered one of the top-grossing films in Canadian history – unprecedented numbers of homegrown movies were selected for prestigious film festivals like Sundance and Berlin this year.
The immediate future looks bright: “Away From Her,” Sarah Polley’s critically acclaimed feature-film directorial debut, arrives in theatres in May. The performances of Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent have already generated buzz for the Alzheimer’s drama.
“Fido,” a smart and stylish zombie comedy set in the 1950s from Canadian director Andrew Currie, and starring Carrie-Anne Moss and Scottish comic Billy Connolly, will be released in March, and Oscar-winner Denys Arcand also has a highly anticipated release this year in “L’Age des tenebres.”
“This year we’re in the mood to celebrate some positives,” Gratton says. “The momentum’s growing and I expect next year’s Genies to be a vintage year.”
Here are the nominees in key categories for the 2007 Genie Awards, honouring the best in Canadian-made cinema:
Best motion picture: “Bon Cop, Bad Cop” (Kevin Tierney); “Guide de la petite vengeance/The Little Book of Revenge,” (Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal); “The Rocket/Maurice Richard” (Denise Robert, Daniel Louis); “Trailer Park Boys: The Movie” (Barrie Dunn, Mike Clattenburg, Michael Volpe); “Un Dimanche a Kigali/A Sunday in Kigali” (Lyse Lafontaine, Michael Mosca).
Direction: Erik Canuel, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop”; Jean-Francois Pouliot, “Guide de la petite vengeance/The Little Book of Revenge”; Charles Biname, “The Rocket/Maurice Richard”; Robert Favreau, “Un Dimanche a Kigali/A Sunday in Kigali”; Stephane Lapointe, “La Vie secrete des gens heureux/The Secret Life of Happy People.”
Actor in a leading role: Roy Dupuis, “The Rocket/Maurice Richard”; Colm Feore, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop”; Olivier Gourmet, “Congorama”; Patrick Huard, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop”; Luc Picard, “Un Dimanche a Kigali/A Sunday in Kigali.”
Actor in a supporting role: Hugh Dillon, “Trailer Park Boys: The Movie”; Robert Joy, “Whole New Thing”; Chan Chit Man Lester, “Eve and the Fire Horse”; Stephen McHattie, “The Rocket/Maurice Richard”; Michel Muller, “Guide de la Petite Vengeance/The Little Book of Revenge.”
Actress in a leading role: Jodelle Ferland, “Tideland”; Julie Le Breton, “The Rocket/Maurice Richard”; Fatou N’Diaye, “Un Dimanche a Kigali/A Sunday in Kigali”; Ginette Reno, “Le Secret de ma mere”; Sigourney Weaver, “Snow Cake.”
Actress in a supporting role: Caroline Dhavernas, “Niagara Motel”; Marie Gignac, “La Vie secrete des gens heureux /The Secret Life of Happy People”; Emily Hampshire, “Snow Cake”; Carrie-Anne Moss, “Snow Cake”; Vivian Wu, “Eve and the Fire Horse.”
Original screenplay: Phillippe Falardeau, “Congorama”; Ken Scott, “Guide de la Petite Vengeance/The Little Book of Revenge”; Ken Scott, “The Rocket/Maurice Richard”; Martin Girard, Ghyslaine Cote, “Le Secret de ma mere”; Stephane Lapointe, “La Vie secrete des gens heureux /The Secret Life of Happy People.”
9797 – I have seen almost all of the films this year!
Genies have a lot to celebrate in ’07