Genies go C.R.A.Z.Y.

The puns just write themselves. C.R.A.Z.Y. for you. Let's go C.R.A.Z.Y. Wild and C.R.A.Z.Y. guys. Boy C.R.A.Z.Y. And that's just four, not even half the number of trophies scored by director Jean-Marc Vallée's smash hit at this year's Genie Awards.
C.R.A.Z.Y., the Cirrus Communications-produced drama about growing up gay in the '70s, picked up 11 wins at the annual movie awards gala, scoring in all but one of its nominated categories and sweeping the behind-the-camera categories, including best motion picture and director.

The puns just write themselves. C.R.A.Z.Y. for you. Let’s go C.R.A.Z.Y. Wild and C.R.A.Z.Y. guys. Boy C.R.A.Z.Y. And that’s just four, not even half the number of trophies scored by director Jean-Marc Vallée’s smash hit at this year’s Genie awards.

C.R.A.Z.Y., the Cirrus Communications-produced drama about growing up gay in the ’70s, picked up 11 wins at the annual movie awards gala, scoring in all but one of its nominated categories and sweeping the behind-the-camera categories, including best motion picture and director.

‘This has been a crazy experience,’ Vallée told the crowd upon accepting his trophy for best director. He and cowriter François Boulay also won best original screenplay.

A big win, and big shut-outs for such contenders as It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Familia and Saint Ralph.

‘We feel like kids at Christmas, with a lot of gifts,’ added Pierre Even, who produced with Vallée.

And yet, speaking to reporters backstage, Vallée expressed frustration that the Quebec-made smash has had a harder time in English Canada.

‘We’ve had a few screens here and there – two in Toronto. The market is really hard,’ he said.

He also wishes more English-Canadian films could get play in his home province, complaining that the best documentary winner ScaredSacred and Pete Tong, which had eight nominations, both played for only a few weeks.

‘I wish English films were more visible,’ he said. ‘There is still a lot of work to do.’

C.R.A.Z.Y. also won best art direction for Patrice Vermette, costumes for Ginette Magny, editing for Paul Jutras, the Golden Reel for its top box-office take of $6.2 million via distributor TVA Films, and best lead actor for Michel Côté, who played the father to star Marc-André Grondin. Grondin was up for the same prize.

‘I am a little bit sad for Marc, but very happy for me,’ Côté quipped to reporters. ‘He’s young. He’ll have another.’

Danielle Proulx, meanwhile, took best supporting actress for playing the mom. ‘So many people told me, ‘You are my mother,” she said. ‘So the story is of one person, but it’s also a lot of people.’

Proulx went on to say that the picture’s ample use of music – David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and others – to evoke its 1970s setting also helped it to connect with moviegoers. The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television agreed, and also awarded trophies for best overall sound and sound editing.

‘We knew the music from when we were young. These songs are so strong they made the story come through,’ said Luc Boudrias, one of the four-person sound team. ‘The music made the relationships.’

C.R.A.Z.Y.’s only miss was cinematography, which went to Giles Nuttgens for Water, one of three wins out of nine nominations for the conclusion of Deepa Mehta’s elemental trilogy. Seema Biswas won best lead actress – beating out the Familia double threat of Macha Grenon and Sylvie Moreau – while Mychael Danna took home the prize for his Indian-flavored original score.

‘I’m married to a South Asian woman, so I see a lot of Bollywood films whether I want to our not,’ Danna joked later.

Danna was also nom’ed for his work on Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies and also recently scored Capote and Terry Gilliam’s Tideland. His next work will be the buzz-making Steve Carell starrer Little Miss Sunshine and the Sony cartoon Surf’s Up.

Glenn Buhr and Margaret Sweatman, meanwhile, won for best original song for the jazzy When Wintertime, heard in the noir Seven Times Lucky by director Gary Yates. Yates accepted the award on their behalf, describing later how he hired Buhr to write a ‘dreamy reverie’ in the vein of an old Ella Fitzgerald tune.

‘I don’t know if it’s always cheaper to license an original song, but in our case it was,’ said Yates.

Rounding out the performance categories, Denis Bernard took best lead actor for his turn in Luc Picard’s L’Audition, its only win out of seven nominations. Egoyan won best adapted screenplay for reworking the Rupert Holmes novel into his Where the Truth Lies.

Louise Archambault took the Claude Jutra award for up-and-coming director for her debut feature, Familia. Best animated short went to the National Film Board’s CNote by Chris Hinton and producer Michael Fukushima, while director David Ostry and producer Matthew Cervi won best live-action short for the Canadian Film Centre-backed Milo 55160.

The short has paid off for Ostry, who noted that six months after it played at the Toronto International Film Festival he was contacted by Kevin Spacey’s production company and soon signed to direct his first feature. Mr. Gibb, starring Timothy Daly, is due in theaters this year.

The 2006 Genies was a smaller, shorter affair than usual. The 21 awards were handed out in at less than an hour and a half and the show was not televised until later in the evening, when MusiMax and CHUM stations ran an hour-long mix of taped highlights and live interviews at the after party.

www.genieawards.ca