Egoyan works magic on Genie judges

The Genie Awards ended its long-standing exclusion of auteur filmmaker Atom Egoyan when it presented him with three personal statuettes - best director, best original screenplay and best film - for Exotica, which he coproduced with Camelia Frieberg. By the end...

The Genie Awards ended its long-standing exclusion of auteur filmmaker Atom Egoyan when it presented him with three personal statuettes – best director, best original screenplay and best film – for Exotica, which he coproduced with Camelia Frieberg. By the end of the evening, the film had scored a total of eight awards.

Egoyan was more than a little pleased, saying in an interview after the show at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre that it was always a source of embarrassment that his films were not recognized at home: ‘It’s a relief because it means when people from around the world ask me how my films do in Canada, I can say for the first time that Exotica did well commercially, but also that it was honored by the Academy.’

The Canadian film awards show, produced by David Rosen and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and written by Joe Bodolai, was broadcast live on cbc Dec. 7 to just under 500,000 viewers, virtually the same audience figures as last year.

Maury Chaykin won best actor for his portrayal of a reclusive rock star in Whale Music, which was up for nine awards and received four. In his acceptance speech, Chaykin was generous with thank-you’s, and later said he felt he had to cover a lot of ground since ‘there weren’t many of us (from Whale Music) up there. I felt like I had to thank everyone because it was quite an effort and people should be acknowledged.’

First-time filmmaker Cristine Richey won the best documentary award for In the Gutter and Other Good Places, a one-hour piece on the lives of three dumpster-pickers in Calgary.

Richey openly skewered the players of the broadcast world when she said her film had been turned down by three networks before Rudy Buttignol of tvontario picked it up. Later, Richey mused on the idea of better relations with the nets, trying to estimate the damage she had just done on stage to her future.

Don McKellar won best supporting actor for his off-beat portrayal of a bird-egg smuggler in Exotica. When asked later that night if he thought the Genie would have an impact on his career, he responded: ‘To be blunt, no I don’t. But it’s nice enough. It makes my parents happy.’

Canadian-born Arthur Hiller, head of the American Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, was in town to watch the Genies for the first time, and when asked if he had any bon mots for Canada’s answer to the Oscars, Hiller advised: ‘Keep that warmth and friendship, and keep the family feel.’ At the end of it all, Hiller said the clips he saw whetted his appetite to see the winning films.

Egoyan says of the Genies: ‘It’s something we can take for granted, being here, but from a more global perspective, the national film awards of any country have a lot of currency.’

Following are the 1994 Genie winners:

Best Motion Picture: Exotica – producers: Atom Egoyan, Camelia Frieberg.

Best Performance by an actor in a leading role: Maury Chaykin – Whale Music.

Best Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Don McKellar – Exotica.

Best Performance by an actress in a leading role: Sandra Oh – Double Happiness.

Best Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Martha Henry – Mustard Bath.

Best Achievement in Direction: Atom Egoyan – Exotica.

Best Original Screenplay: Atom Egoyan – Exotica.

Best Adapted Screenplay from another medium: Brad Fraser – Love and Human Remains.

Best Achievement in Cinematography: Paul Sarossy – Exotica.

Best Achievement in Film Editing: Alison Grace – Double Happiness.

Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design: Linda Del Rosario, Richard Paris – Exotica.

Best Achievement in Costume Design: Linda Muir – Exotica.

Best Music Score: Mychael Danna – Exotica.

Best Original Song: Claire by the Rheostatics – Whale Music.

Best Achievement in Overall Sound: Dean Giammarco, Daryl R. Powell, Paul Sharpe, Bill ‘Otis’ Sheppard – Whale Music.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Eric Hill, Irving Mulch, Marti Richa, Shane Shemko, Isaac Stozberg – Whale Music.

Best Documentary: In the Gutter and Other Good Places – Cristine Richey.

Best Short Film: Arrowhead – Peter Lynch, Emmet Sheil.

1993 Golden Reel Award: Louis 19, le roi des ondes – Richard Sadler, Jacques Dorfmann.

Air Canada Award: Rene Malo, Malofilm.

Claude Jutra Award for direction of a first feature film: Michel Poulette – Louis 19, le roi des ondes.