Canceled series score numerous Gemini wins

The whole was far from the sum of its parts at this year's Gemini Awards Gala, with canceled series raking in the wins and DaVinci's Inquest taking home the award for best dramatic series, but losing out on its nine other...

The whole was far from the sum of its parts at this year’s Gemini Awards Gala, with canceled series raking in the wins and DaVinci’s Inquest taking home the award for best dramatic series, but losing out on its nine other nominations.

‘I’m disappointed with the win,’ says DaVinci creator, executive producer and head writer Chris Haddock. ‘To win the best show without some of the other categories recognized makes us wonder what’s happening.’

And, of course, to be considered the best series of the year and still lose out to canceled programs is even more bizarre.

Nonetheless, Power Play’s Michael Riley beat out DaVinci’s Nicholas Campbell, Donnelly Rhodes and Ian Tracey in the category of best performance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role. ctv canceled the Alliance Atlantis series last year as a result of poor ratings.

Best performance by an actor in a guest dramatic role went to Geordie Johnson of The City, – another ctv cancelled series – beating out both Matt Frewer and John Cassini for DaVinci.

Broadcast live by cbc, the final night, Oct. 30, of the three-day event was hosted by Steve Smith and attended by a restless audience of industry heavies at the Metro Convention Centre’s John Bassett Theatre. The Geminis broadcast drew 640,000 viewers (adults 2+), a slight increase over last year’s 632,000

This year, the Geminis’ 15th anniversary, was the first time the event was not broadcast on a Sunday night.

The programming decision was made by Slawko Klymkiw, executive director of programming for cbc, who says with all the movies and specials that air on Sunday night the competition is stiff and especially difficult for the Geminis show, which tends to attract a ‘floating audience.’

‘The numbers for the last three or four years have been going down,’ says Klymkiw, so he decided to take a chance on Monday night.

‘But until all the Canadian broadcasters decide to simulcast the show or not put anything significant up against it, we won’t be able to really draw attention to the Canadian stars and the Canadian tv industry,’ he adds.

Night two

Night two of the Geminis proved a wickedly funny, irreverent showcase for the tongue-in-chic talents of host Carla Collins, she of the lightning-strike retort.

Collins, who can wring reluctant laughs even from tv types trying hard not to howl with the hordes, is self-deprecating to a fine fault.

Riffing off her own shortage of nominations, Collins mused that some performers – such as Murphy Brown’s Candice Bergen – pull themselves out of award categories if they’ve won repeatedly. ‘But not (This Hour Has 22 Minutes’) Rick Mercer,’ she teased.

Later in the evening, Mercer joined other 22 Minutes writers onstage (11 were nominated for ‘Episode 21′) to help hoist the prize for best writing in a comedy or variety program or series, one of several Geminis the show would win over three nights of galas.

But the evening careened from raucous to reflective. Shannon Lawson, who won for her supporting role in The City, said offstage that while she appreciates winning the Gemini, she doubts it will boost her career. ‘The star system evades us here,’ she said. ‘Canadian actors keep hitting the glass ceiling.’

Later on, Shirley Douglas, who won her first Gemini for her supporting role in the drama Shadow Lake, picked up on Lawson’s theme. Decrying reports in the press suggesting actors don’t value Gemini nominations, (‘Some people have a hard time understanding why we’re thrilled when we’re nominated – we’re thrilled when we get the part!’), she did note the award is more meaningful to her life than it is likely to be for her career. ‘This is my community and these are the people I work with. There’s a roomful of people here, and I’m glad to be a part of it.’

The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television handed out 23 awards at the night two Industry Gala, plus two special awards – the Academy Achievement Award for exceptional contribution to the tv industry, presented to Pat Ferns (See Playback tribute, p. 29), and the Margaret Collier Award for a body of work in writing, given posthumously to Rob Forsyth. Forsyth also won honors for best writing in a dramatic program or miniseries for his work on Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story. His son Luc, who accepted the Collier for his father, echoed Justin Trudeau’s eulogy for his accomplished dad when he said he ‘never really’ thought about Rob as a world-class writer, but simply as ‘dad.’

Opening night

Winners who professed surprise at their victory at this year’s Gemini Opening Gala were numerous, but among the more genuine-seeming was Jackie Dzuba, winner of the Gemini for best picture editing in a comedy, variety, performing arts program or series for her work on the documentary They Live to Polka. ‘I really didn’t expect to win; I was honored just to be in the category with all those names around me.’ As for the polka? ‘I’ve been inspired to take actual lessons.’

Another winner said she was sure geography would work against her. After picking up her prize, Ivana Vasak, a Gemini winner for best production design or art direction in a dramatic program or series (Stargate SG-1 ‘The Devil You Know’), said, ‘They told us that since we were from the West we had no chance of anything. So we thought we’d see Toronto and then go back.’

Vasak, who shared the prize with seven others, was quick to emphasize that ‘Stargate is not an American show. Ninety-nine percent of the people who work on the show are Canadian.’

Arnie Gelbart, winner for his documentary After Darwin, was surprised his work even got picked up. ‘It was a difficult film. It’s about genetics and morality and social problems that we’ll face with genetic material in the future. I was trying to do something that is not done very often on tv – a think piece. I thought it was a little too difficult for television today, but I was wrong and I’m glad.’

Opening Gala host Clifton Joseph got a good reaction from the crowd, helped along by presenters like Mag Ruffman, whose mike crackled during her presentation of the award for best photography in a dramatic program or series: ‘I have a tight dress on so I used a tensor bandage [to anchor the mike] and apparently it’s not working,’ she quipped.

The night saw the presentation of 33 Geminis and three special awards: the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalist, won by Ron Haggart; the John Drainie Award, won by Shelagh Rogers; and the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, which went to SkyCable of Manitoba. *

with files from samantha yaffe, susan tolusso and fiona macdonald.

-www.academy.ca

following is the complete list of this year’s Gemini winners as supplied by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Program categories

Best Short Dramatic Program: A Feeling Called Glory – p. Coreen Mayrs (Cracked Pot Films)

Best TV Movie or Dramatic Miniseries: Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story – p. Francine Allaire, Claude Bonin, Andre Picard (TVA International/Ballistic Pictures)

Best Dramatic Series: DaVinci’s Inquest – p. Chris Haddock, Laszlo Barna, Lynn Barr, Tom Braidwood (Haddock Entertainment/Barna-Alper Productions)

Best Comedy Program or Series: This Hour Has 22 Minutes – p. Michael Donovan, Geoff D’Eon, Mark Farrell, Ginny Jones-Duzak, Jack Kellum (Salter Street Films)

Best Music, Variety Program or Series: East Coast Music Awards – 2000 – p. Geoff D’Eon, Jac Gautreau, Michael Lewis (CBC Halifax)

Best News Information Series: the fifth estate – p. David Studer, Susan Teskey (cbc)

Best Lifestyle Series: Foodessence – p. Charles Bishop (Salter)

Best Talk/General Information Series: Skylight – p. Rita Shelton Deverell (Vision tv)

Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program: Deep Inside Clint Star – p. Silva Basmajian (National Film Board)

Best History/Biography Documentary Program: Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square – p. Donald McWilliams, Barrie Angus McLean (nfb)

Best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment or Adventure Documentary Program: After Darwin – p. Arnie Gelbart (Galafilm/PTV Productions)

Best Performing Arts Program or Series, or Arts Documentary Program or Series: Tall Tales From The Long Corner – p. Gordon Henderson (90th Parallel Productions)

Best Documentary Series: The View From Here – p. Rudy Buttignol (tvontario)

Best Animated Program or Series or Short Animated Program: Angela Anaconda – p. Steven DeNure, Neil Court, Joanna Ferrone, John Mariella, Sue Rose, Beth Stevenson (Decode Entertainment/C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures)

Best Preschool Program or Series: Polka Dot Shorts – p. Jed MacKay (tvo)

Best Children’s or Youth Program or Series: Incredible Story Studio – p. Kevin DeWalt, Robert de Lint, Rob King, Virginia Thompson (Minds Eye Pictures/Verite Films)

Best Sports Program or Series: Legends of Hockey – p. Derik Murray, John N. Hamilton (Network Pictures)

Best Live Sporting Event: Pan Am Games – p. Joel Darling, Mike Brannagan (CBC Sports)

Best Newscast/News Special: The National – p. Kelly Crichton, Nigel Gibson, Fred Parker (cbc)

Best Live Special Event Coverage: 2000 Today – p. Mark Bulgutch, Pam McNair, Chris Waddell (CBC Newsworld)

Craft categories

Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: David Wellington – Dead Aviators (Accent/Temple Street)

Best Direction in a Dramatic Series: Ken Finkleman – Foolish Heart ‘The Critic’ (cbc)

Best Direction in a Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series: Shelagh O’Brien – YAA! 10th Anniversary YTV Achievement Awards (ytv)

Best Direction in an Information Program or Series: Neil Docherty – the fifth estate ‘Legacy of Pain’ (cbc)

Best Direction in a Documentary Program: Lesley Ann Patten – The Voice Set Free (Tightwire Productions)

Best Direction in a Documentary Series: Jennifer Baichwal – The View From Here – The Holier It Gets (tvo/Requisite)

Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series: Henry Sarwer-Foner – Made In Canada ‘Damacles Directs’ (Salter)

Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Rob Forsyth – Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story (tva/Ballistic)

Best Writing in a Dramatic Series: Julie Lacey – Power Play ‘Foolish Hearts’ (aac)

Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series: Cathy Jones, Luciano Casimiri, Mark Farrell, Chris Finn, Edward Kay, Rick Mercer, Christian Murray, Tim Steeves, Greg Thomey, Mary Walsh, George Westerholm – This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Salter)

Best Writing in an Information Program or Series: Francine Pelletier – the fifth estate ‘Legacy of Pain’ (cbc)

Best Writing in a Documentary Program or Series: Jennifer Baichwal – The Holier It Gets (Requisite)

Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program: Vicki Grant – Scoop & Doozie ‘What Rubbish!’ (Queen Bee)

Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series: Michael Buckley – Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story (tva/Ballistic)

Best Photography in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series: Marc Charlebois – The Child of Music (Cine Qua Non)

Best Photography in an Information Program or Series: Stephane Brisson – CTV News ‘Clock Watcher’ (ctv)

Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Series: Richard Stringer – Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science ‘Double Jeopardy’ (Exhibit A)

Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series: Ralph Brunjes – Murder Most Likely (aac/Two Bridges)

Best Picture Editing in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series: Jackie Dzuba – They Live to Polka (Camera West/nfb)

Best Picture Editing in an Information Program or Series: Michele Hozer – The Nature of Things ‘Race for the Future ii’ (cbc)

Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series: David Wharnsby – The Holier It Gets (Requisite)

Best Overall Sound in a Dramatic Program or Series: Allen Ormerod, Daniel Latour, Scott Shepherd – Nikita ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (Fireworks Entertainment)

Best Sound Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series: Jane Tattersall, Rick Cadger, David McCallum, Donna Powell – Dead Aviators (Accent/Temple Street)

Best Sound in a Comedy, Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series: Mike Baskerville, Colin Baxter, Dan Daniels, Tim Roberts, David Drainie Taylor – Twitch City ‘Shinto Death Cults’ (Accent)

Best Sound in an Information/Documentary Program or Series: Peter Sawade, Eric Apps, Elma Belo, Alison Clark, Steve Hammond, Dino Pigat – Legacy of Terror: The Bombing of Air India (Bishari)

Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Dramatic Program or Series: Richard Hudolin, Mark Davidson, Robert Davidson, Brentan Harron, Bridget McGuire, Douglas McLean, Ivana Vasak – Stargate SG-1 ‘The Devil You Know’ (Kawoosh!)

Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Non-Dramatic Program or Series: Nuala O’Flynn – MuchMusic VideoAwards 1999 (MuchMusic)

Best Costume Design: Ruy Filipe – Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story (tva/Ballistic)

Best Achievement in Makeup: Pip Ayotte, Marlene Aarons, Jocelyn MacDonald – Peter Benchley’s Amazon ‘War’ (aac)

Best Visual Effects: John Gajdecki, David Alexander, Barb Benoit, Jen Vuckovic – Must Be Santa (cbc)

Best Original Music Score for a Program or Miniseries: Michel Cusson – Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story (tva/Ballistic)

Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series: John Van Tongeren – The Outer Limits ‘Tribunal’ (aac/mgm/Showtime/Trilogy)

Best Original Music Score for a Documentary Program or Series: Terry Frewer – Over Canada (Gary McCartie Productions)

Best Information Segment: Jennifer Campbell, Erin Paul – the fifth estate ‘Too Bad to Be True’ (cbc)

Performance categories

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Jonathan Scarfe – The Sheldon Kennedy Story (Sarrazin-Couture/Bradshaw MacLeod)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Colleen Rennison – A Feeling Called Glory (Cracked Pot Films)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role: Michael Riley – Power Play ‘What It All Meant’ (aac)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role: Torri Higginson – The City ‘Properties of Light’ (Sarrazin-Couture)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role Dramatic Series: Geordie Johnson – The City ‘Bed Fellows’ (Sarrazin-Couture)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role Dramatic Series: Alisen Down – Cold Squad ‘Dead Beat Walking’ (Keatley MacLeod/aac)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Robert Wisden – The Sheldon Kennedy Story (Sarrazin-Couture/Bradshaw MacLeod)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Shirley Douglas – Shadow Lake (Shadow Lake Productions/Breakthrough Entertainment/Sound Venture Productions)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series: Pedro Salvin – Peter Benchley’s Amazon ‘The Chosen’ (aac)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series: Shannon Lawson – The City ‘Free Fall’ (Sarrazin-Couture)

Best Performance in a Comedy Program or Series: Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey, Mary Walsh – This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Salter)

Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series: Brigitte Gall – Brigitte Gall: Joan of Montreal (Leopard)

Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series: Juan Chioran – Dracula (tvo)

Best Performance in a Preschool Program or Series: Sheila McCarthy – Sesame Park ‘Little Miss Muffet’ (cbc)

Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series: Matt Frewer – Mentors ‘A Transient, Shining Trouble’ (Minds Eye/Anaid)

Best News Anchor: Diana Swain – Manitoba Votes 1999 (CBC Manitoba)

Best Reportage: Don Murray – The National ‘Traumatized Kids/Canada Bound/Revenge Attacks’ (cbc)

Best Host or Interviewer in a News or Talk/General Information Program or Series: Robert Mason Lee – Mason Lee: On The Edge ‘Newspaper Wars/Mixed Bag #1/Spiritual Matters’ (Agincourt Productions – ctv)

Best Host in a Lifestyle, or Performing Arts Program or Series: Peter Jordan – It’s a Living with Peter Jordan ‘Swimming with Sharks/King for a Day/Song’ (CBC Manitoba/Life Network)

Best Sports Broadcaster: Brian Williams – Pan Am Games (CBC Sports) *

-www.academy.ca