Just when you thought awards season was done and over with, it’s now Canada’s turn to get in on the action. Nominations were announced Tuesday morning for the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs). These awards look to highlight work done by Canadians across film, television, and digital media. Awards will be handed out over five days, with the Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala airing live on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m.
With so many nominees announced, 141 of them in fact, the CSAs can be a bit daunting upon first glance. However, since we are The TV Junkies, our primary focus naturally shifts to just the TV categories and nominees. After taking in all the nominees, some of which are listed down below, I couldn’t help but have a few snap judgements. While the awards are vast and expansive, it’s only natural that some deserving talent is going to be left out. However, there are still plenty of things I found to be excited about.
So without further ado, check out everything I liked and disliked about this year’s CSA nominees, and then let me know who your favorites were, or who the biggest snub was in your eyes!
LIKE: Lots of Schitt
Leading the pack of nominations this year was the CBC comedy series Schitt’s Creek, currently airing its sixth and final season, with a total of 26 nominations. Not only is the series up for Best Comedy, but it completely dominated all other comedy categories as well. Seemingly everyone in the excellent Schitt’s cast grabbed a nomination, and the series nabbed 3 of the 5 comedy direction nominations, and 4 of the 5 comedy writing nominations. Oh and remember, these nominations are for the show’s fifth season, meaning I fully expect to see Schitt’s dominance continue at next year’s awards as well.
LIKE: Women know drama
If there’s one thing the CSA nominations made abundantly clear it’s that women know drama. Four of the five nominees for Best Direction in a Drama Series were women, with Anne Wheeler and Amanda Tapping gaining noms for Anne With an E, along with Norma Bailey (Mary Kills People) and Helen Shaver (Vikings). When it comes to Best Writing in a Drama Series, all five of the nominations included women. Both Moira Walley-Beckett and Jane Maggs were nominated for Anne With an E, and Marsha Greene and Tassie Cameron both gained nominations for Mary Kills People. Noelle Carbone was then nominated alongside Patrick Tarr and Aaron Bala for an episode of Cardinal. This kind of dominance is really exciting to see, especially coming off all of the talk around the lack of women nominated for Oscars and Emmys in the States.
DISLIKE: Not enough Coroner love
It was great to see the CBC drama series Coroner’s first season not only nominated for Best Drama series, but to have leads Serinda Swan and Roger Cross also nominated as lead actors. However, I couldn’t help but want more nominations for the series. For instance, how was Adrienne Mitchell denied a directing nomination? Where were the nominations for any of the Coroner writers? While I appreciated seeing the series recognized, here’s hoping Coroner is given even more love next year!
LIKE: Canada knows comedy
It’s hard to look at the nominees for Best Comedy series (JANN, Kim’s Convenience, Letterkenny, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms) and not be impressed by the talent of the Canadian comedy scene. Outside of JANN, every single one of these series has found great international success and audiences all around the world. None of these nominations were a surprise, and every one of these series deserved their nomination.
DISKLIKE: Too little JANN love
While JANN received a Best Comedy nomination, as well as a Lead Actress nomination for Jann Arden, I couldn’t help but wish to see showrunner Jennica Harper or some of the other talented JANN writers nominated in a writing category that Schitt’s Creek absolutely dominated. Arden’s co-stars Zoie Palmer and Debrah Grover also seemed to run into a Schitt’s-sized wall when it came to breaking into the comedy supporting actress category. Finally, director Ron Murphy did an excellent job directing every episode of JANN’s first season and I would’ve liked to see his work recognized. Again, there’s always next year…
LIKE: Love for Letterkenny’s leading lady
I was overjoyed to see Letterkenny once again get a good amount of love from the CSAs. It earned 10 nominations in total, including Best Comedy Series and directing, writing, and editing nominations. Of course Jared Keeso deserves a ton of love and his Lead Actor nomination, but the Letterkenny nomination that made me the most happy was the one Michelle Mylett earned for Lead Actress. In a town populated with an overwhelming amount of dudes, Mylett’s Katy regularly holds her own on every level. It’s great to see the Academy recognize her and this nomination was one of my most delightful surprises.
LIKE: Killjoys surprise acting nominations
Speaking of delightful surprises, I couldn’t help but be extremely delighted to see Killjoys’ Thom Allison and Kelly McCormack nominated in the comedy supporting actor categories. These two both brought so much to their roles on the CTV-Sci Fi series and regularly stole any scene they appeared in. Being a genre show, Killjoys traditionally hasn’t received the love I think it deserves, so when Allison and McCormack’s names appeared it was quite a shock, albeit the very best kind of shock.
DISLIKE: No love for the Killjoys leads
While the nominations for Allison and McCormack delighted me to no end, I couldn’t help but once again be saddened to see Killjoys’ star, Hannah John-Kamen, missing from the Lead Actress nominees. After Aaron Ashmore received a Lead Actor nomination last year, I thought the CSAs may finally be starting to take genre TV a little more seriously. However, Ashmore wasn’t nominated \this year, and neither were his co-stars John-Kamen or Luke Macfarlane. With Killjoys now over and wrapped, John-Kamen has already moved on towards becoming the huge international star she’s destined to be, but it still saddens me that her excellent work on Killjoys never seems to be recognized in any formal way. At least Killjoys’ Trysha Bakker and Craig-Ryan French were nominated for costume and make-up awards.
Like: Kim’s Convenience returns with a bang
The CBC comedy Kim’s Convenience was noticeably absent from last year’s CSA nominations due to its broadcast slot moving from fall to winter. The series returned this year in full force, garnering nine nominations in total. In addition to the Best Comedy nomination, it was wonderful to see members of Kim’s talented cast — lead actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, lead actress Jean Yoon, supporting actor Andrew Phung and actress Nicole Power and guest star Amanda Brugel — receive nominations and some well-deserved recognition.
DISLIKE: Where’s the Workin’ Moms love?
Despite Workin’ Moms being nominated for Best Comedy, and creator/star Catherine Reitman being nominated as a director, it was pretty shocking to see no acting nominations for any of the lead cast. Reitman and co-star Dani Kind both received Lead Actress nominations last year, and it’s disappointing to see them absent from this year’s list. Not only do Reitman and Kind deserve some love, but it saddens me to not see Juno Rinaldi or Sarah McVie garner any supporting love from the Academy. Again, this definitely seems to be a case of Schitt’s Creek’s dominance being felt.
Canadian Screen Awards Television Nominees
Best Dramatic Series
Anne With an E
Mary Kills People
Best Comedy Series
Best Lead Actor, Comedy
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
Jason Priestley, Private Eyes
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Best Lead Actress, Comedy
Jann Arden, JANN
Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience
Michelle Mylett, Letterkenny
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Best Lead Actor, Drama
Peter Mooney, Burden of Truth
Billy Campbell, Cardinal
Jerry O’Connell, Carter
Roger Cross, Coroner
Shawn Doyle, Unspeakable
Best Lead Actress, Drama
Amybeth McNulty, Anne With an E
Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
Serinda Swan, Coroner
Lauren Lee Smith, Frankie Drake Mysteries
Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Rossif Sutherland, Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey
Brendan Fehr, Daughter of the Wolf
Brandon Oakes, Diggstown
Hugh Thompson, Forgive Me
Thom Allison, Killjoys
Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Kristen Thomson, Cardinal
Karen Robinson, Forgive Me
Kelly McCormack, Killjoys
Elizabeth Saunders, Mary Kills People
Rosemary Dunsmore, Street Legal
Best Supporting, Comedy
Andrew Phung, Kim’s Convenience
Mark Forward, Letterkenny
Chris Elliott, Schitt’s Creek
Dustin Milligan, Schitt’s Creek
Noah Reid, Schitt’s Creek
Best Supporting or Guest Actress, Comedy
Nicole Power, Kim’s Convenience
Mary Walsh, Little Dog
Emily Hampshire, Schitt’s Creek
Jennifer Robinson, Schitt’s Creek
Sarah Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Best Direction, Comedy
Jacob Tierney, Letterkenny
Laurie Lynd, Schitt’s Creek
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Jordan Canning, Schitt’s Creek
Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms
Best Direction, Drama Series
Anne Wheeler, Anne With an E
Amanda Tapping, Anne With an E
Norma Bailey, Mary Kills People
Helen Shaver, Vikings
David Wellington, Vikings
Best Writing, Drama Series
Moira Walley-Beckett, Anne With an E
Jane Maggs, Anne With an E
Patrick Tarr, Noelle Carbone, Aaron Bala, Cardinal
Marsha Greene, Mary Kills People
Tassie Cameron, Mary Kills People
Best Writing, Comedy Series
Jared Keeso, Jacob Tierney, Letterkenny
Rupinder Gill, Schitt’s Creek
Daniel Levy, Rupinder Gill, Schitt’s Creek
David West Read, Schitt’s Creek
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
What do you think of the CSA nominations? Who did they get right? Who was deserving but got left out? Add your thoughts below!
The Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala will air Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem. A full list of nominees can be found here.