Snap Judgment: Canadian Screen Award Nominations 2019

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The beginning of every year is always awards season and now it’s Canada’s turn to get involved in the action. Nominations were announced Thursday morning for the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs), which highlight work being done by Canadians in a wide variety of film, television and digital media. The 2019 nominees were announced by Aisha Alfa and Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience), with the primary awards being presented in a televised event on Sunday, March 31 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.

The CSAs cover such a vast array of fields and categories that all the awards actually get presented over the course of an entire week. However, since we are The TV Junkies, our primary focus is naturally the TV categories and nominees. After reading over the extensive list of nominees, I have a few snap judgements about this year’s nominees. One show noticeably absent from the nominees was Kim’s Convenience, but I should note here that the CBC comedy series was not eligible to be nominated this cycle because its broadcast slot moved from Fall to Winter.

With the talent and quality of Canadian TV growing all the time, it’s naturally hard to nominate everyone that deserves it. I was very excited by a few new names that appeared on the list of nominees this year, but there’s still some omissions that I think deserved to be on there. So read on below for everything that I liked and disliked about this year’s CSA nominees. Then let me know who your favorite nominees were and who you think the CSA maybe missed the mark on in the comments below!

Like: Love for genre leads!

When it comes to awards, genre television is used to not feeling the love. It always seems that genre programs automatically get dismissed as silly by awards shows and never get the accolades that they deserve. Thankfully, there was a shift in that this year as both Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna Earp) and Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys) received lead actor nominations in the drama field. I’m fully convinced there’s nothing Scrofano can’t do as she slings the best one-liners one minute to making us full on ugly cry the next. Her Wynonna is tough, yet vulnerable, flawed, hilarious, loving and smart. Scrofano elevates everything about a scene with every minute she’s on screen. It’s thrilling to see her finally get acknowledged for her stellar work. For his part, Ashmore unearthed a new side to Johnny Jaqobis during Killjoys Season 4 as the green made him harsh, cruel and cold — something that John has never been before. It was a true testament to Ashmore’s skills how heartbreaking it was as a viewer to see John act this way. I cannot tell you how happy I am that the Academy is recognizing both these talented actors.

Dislike: I still want more though!

Nominating both Scrofano and Ashmore was a huge step forward into getting genre TV the love it deserves, but I couldn’t help but want MORE! First off, Ashmore’s co-star, Hannah John-Kamen, deserved to be nominated in the Lead Actress category up there next to Scrofano. Not only does John-Kamen play Killjoys’ lead bounty hunter Dutch, but she pulls double duty and fully transforms into Aneela as well. Outside of the acting categories, it would’ve been great to see the genre love extend to writers or directors from both Wynonna Earp and Killjoys as well. Just because the shows deal with demons and outer space doesn’t mean that they aren’t delivering some of the most heartfelt, dramatic, intelligent and gut-wrenching episodes of the year as well, look no further than the Wynonna Earp episode “Jolene” for proof of that.

Like: Dani Kind nominated for Workin’ Moms

It’s always great to see all the love that Workin’ Moms gets from the CSAs, including a Best Comedy nod and best direction and lead actress nomination for creator/star Catherine Reitman. However, what thrilled me most was seeing another mom getting the love too. Last year, I lamented that Reitman’s onscreen pals were left off the ballot, but the CSAs made up for that this year by nominating Dani Kind for Lead Actress in a Comedy this year. Kind’s Anne went through an emotional year in Season 2, fighting with best friend Kate and dealing with her ex-husband, Brad making a traumatic reappearance in her life. It’s lovely to see the CSAs award her for it all with this well-deserved nomination.

Like: The CSAs love Mary Kills People

For the second year in a row, Global’s drama series about an ER doc by day angel of death by night received all kinds of love from the Academy. I’m in full agreement that the show was one of the best things on TV last season. From writing to directing to acting categories (with a special shoutout to a Best Supporting nod to last season’s standout Salvatore Antonio!), Mary Kills People was well represented at the CSAs, and it deserves every single nomination it got. Tassie Cameron, Tara Armstrong and their team continue to be a gold standard in the industry year after year and it’s great to see the CSAs recognize that.

Dislike: But no Best Drama series nod for Mary Kills People?

I’ll never understand how a series, like Mary Kills People, can be nominated in all the major categories and then fail to receive an overall nomination for Best Drama Series. There’s just no logic to that at all! Mary Kills People deserved that Best Drama nomination, full stop.

Like: All the Letterkenny love

If we’re talking about the best of the best when it comes to Canadian TV, or really just TV in general, then Crave’s Letterkenny should always be in the discussion. The hilariously intelligent fast-talking comedy just seems to get better and better with each season. It’s great to see the Academy recognize that with nominations for Best Comedy, a Lead Actor nod for Jared Keeso and writing and directing nods. Letterkenny is Canadian comedy at its absolute finest and absolutely worthy of all the nominations it received.

Dislike: But what about the Letterkenny locals?

As great as all the Letterkenny love is, what is Wayne without all the others that surround him in town every episode, right? Keeso’s Wayne is fabulous and the perfect leader for this rag tag group, but it’s a shame to not see some nominations for some of the other fabulous Letterkenny cast like Michelle Mylett, Nathan Dales, K. Trevor Wilson or the hockey bros played to perfection by Dylan Playfair and Andrew Herr. The pace at which Letterkenny moves and the way all these actors knock the lightning fast lines out of the park deserves to be recognized. It’s not an easy task, and it’d be really nice to see some of the other Letterkenny cast recognized up there alongside Keeso.

Like: Women writers are a dramatic force

It’s pretty clear looking at the writing nominees in both the drama series or limited drama series categories that women are a dramatic force. Seven of the 10 nominations in these categories when to women nominees for the second straight year. Jennica Harper (Cardinal: Blackfly Season), Sarah Dodd (Cardinal: Blackfly Season) and Laurie Finstad Knizhinik (The Queen of Sin) were nominated for Best Writing Drama or Limited Series. In Best Writing, Drama, the women nominated were Kathryn Borel, Jr. (Anne with an E), Mary Pendersen (Murdoch Mysteries), Tara Armstrong (Mary Kills People) and Tassie Cameron, Lara Azzopardi, Marsha Greene (Mary Kills People). It’s always exciting when so many talented women are getting recognized for their work.

Dislike: Too few women directors!

If only the same could be said in directing. While most likely a systematic issue, since we recently found that only 32% of episodes were directed by women last year, it’s still a bit of a blow to only see that four of the 15 nominations in directing went to women. Catherine Reitman (Workin’ Moms) and Tracey Deer (Mohawk Girls) were nominated for Best Direction in Comedy, while Helen Shaver (Anne with an E) and Norma Bailey (Mary Kills People) were nominated for Best Direction in Drama. Sadly, no women were nominated for directing in the limited series category. Hopefully, as the industry continues to hire more female directors then we’ll also see a correlation to increased nominations for women come awards season.

 

Canadian Screen Awards Television Nominees

Best Dramatic Series

Anne with an E

Bad Blood

Blood and Water

Frankie Drake Mysteries

Vikings

Best Comedy Series

Letterkenny

Mr. D

Second Jen

Schitt’s Creek

Workin’ Moms

Best Limited Series

Second Opinion

Caught

Cardinal: Blackfly Season

The Indian Detective

Best Lead Actor, Comedy

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Gerry Dee, Mr. D

Jared Keeso, Letterkenny

Jason Priestley, Private Eyes

Best Lead Actor, Drama

Jerry O’Connell, Carter

Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries

Eric McCormack, Travelers

Kim Coates, Bad Blood

Aaron Ashmore, Killjoys

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

R.H. Thomson, Anne with an E

Louis Ferreira, Bad Blood

Daniel Petronijevic, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

Salvatore Antonio, Mary Kills People

Brent Carver, Save Me

Best Supporting or Guest Actor, Comedy

Ennis Esmer, Private Eyes

Chris Elliott, Schitt’s Creek

Noah Reid, Schitt’s Creek

Colin Mochrie, Tiny Plastic Men

Peter Keleghan, Workin’ Moms

Best Lead Actor, Drama Program or Limited Series

Mark McKinney, A Christmas Fury

Billy Campbell, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

Allan Hawco, Caught

Fab Filippo, Save Me

Best Lead Actress, Comedy

Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Dani Kind, Workin’ Moms

Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms

Cindy Sampson, Private Eyes

Best Lead Actress, Drama

Melanie Scrofano, Wynonna Earp

Kristin Kreuk, Burden of Truth

Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People

Wendy Crewson, The Detail

Amybeth McNulty, Anne with an E

Best Supporting Actress, Drama

Geraldine James, Anne with an E

Selena Lee, Blood and Water

Sharron Matthews, Frankie Drake Mysteries

Chanelle Peloso, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco

Mackenzie Porter, Travelers

Best Supporting or Guest Actress, Comedy

Mary Walsh, Little Dog

Emily Hampshire, Schitt’s Creek

Jenn Robertson, Schitt’s Creek

Amanda Brugel, Workin’ Moms

Jann Arden, Workin’ Moms

Best Lead Actress, Drama Program or Limited Series

Mary Walsh, A Christmas Fury

Karine Vanasse, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

Tori Anderson, Caught

Amy Matysio, Save Me

Best Direction, Comedy

Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Sturla Gunnarsson, Schitt’s Creek

Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms

Jacob Tierney, Letterkenny

Tracey Deer, Mohawk Girls

Best Direction, Drama Program or Limited Series

Jeff Refroe, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

TJ Scott, Caught

Gary Harvey, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Fab Filippo, Save Me

Philippe Gagnon, Sometimes the Good Kill

Best Direction, Drama Series

Helen Shaver, Anne with an E

Peter Stebbings, Frankie Drake Mysteries

Norma Bailey, Mary Kills People

Daniel Grou, Vikings

Jeff Woolnough, Vikings

Best Writing, Comedy

Jared Keeso, Jacob Tierney, Letterkenny

Cynthia Knight, Mohawk Girls

Andrew Appelle, Robert Hyland, Curt Lobb, Jay McCarrol, Matthew Miller, Jared Raab, Nivanna the Band the Show

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

JP Tremblay, Mike Smith, Robb Wells, Trailer Park Boys

Best Writing, Drama or Limited Series

Jennica Harper, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

Sarah Dodd, Cardinal: Blackfly Season

Allan Hawco, Caught

Fab Filippo, Save Me

Laurie Finstad Knizhinik, The Queen of Sin

Best Writing, Drama Series

Kathryn Borel, Jr., Anne with an E

Michael Konyves, Bad Blood

Mary Pendersen, Murdoch Mysteries

Tara Armstrong, Mary Kills People

Tassie Cameron, Lara Azzopardi, Marsha Greene, Mary Kills People

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on the nominations? Tell us below.

The Canadian Screen Awards air Sunday, March 31 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.

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