Despite making the difficult decision last week to postpone the announcement of the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards winners, as well as all Canadian Screen Week events and activities, one award was handed out on Sunday night. Wynonna Earp’s Katherine Barrell was announced as the 2020 Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award Winner. The award is one that gives power to fans and allows audiences to vote for their favourite Canadian working in film, television, or digital media. Voting has taken place over the last month and a half through both social media and on the Academy’s website. According to the Canadian Academy, there were over 35 million votes tallied this year.
Barrell’s win was a close one that saw her edging out Anne with an E’s Amybeth McNulty and Heartland’s Graham Wardle. In her recorded acceptance speech of the award, Barrell thanked Wynonna Earp fans for winning the award for her and all the effort they have put into voting. In fact, Barrell said she was told there were over 1 million votes for her. She said, of the Earpers and their voting, “of course you did, because you’re Earpers and that’s what you do.” Barrell went on to thank the fans on behalf of everyone involved in Wynonna Earp, saying “You guys are always there for us and always have our backs. You never let us down. You are the true definition of found family and community.”
Barrell is best known for playing Purgatory Sheriff Nicole Haught, as well as for her recurring role on the CBC comedy Workin’ Moms. Her win is the second consecutive Audience Choice award for Wynonna Earp, as co-star Dominique Provost-Chalkley took home the award in 2019. On screen, Barrell and Provost-Chalkley make up the Wynonna Earp fan favorite couple known as WayHaught.
The win also marks the fourth straight year that a queer woman playing a queer role has won the Audience Choice award. Joining Barrell and Provost-Chalkley, Carmilla’s Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis won in 2018 and 2017. Looking back further, an actress playing a queer female character on scrreen has won six out of the seven last Audience Choice awards handed out by The Canadian Academy. Lost Girl’s Anna Silk and Zoie Palmer won the award in 2015 and 2014 respectively for playing the central couple on Lost Girl. These are facts that simply cannot be overlooked.
There is true power in positive representation on screen and time and again fans have shown up to prove how important, and what a huge impact, those stories and these actors have had on their lives. Plain and simple, representation matters. Wins like Barrell’s show just that and raise the profile of shows like Wynonna Earp to larger audiences. Queer fandoms continue to prove themselves to be a huge force, and with more queer roles on screen every year, the industry definitely seems to be taking notice.
You’ve voted… a lot (over 35 million times in total)!
Now, introducing your 2020 @cogecofund Audience Choice Award winner….
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.