Les Lavigueur big winner at Gémeaux

MONTREAL: Unseasonable humidity and nasty storm clouds couldn't keep the biggest stars of the French-Canadian television industry away from the Place des Arts complex Sept. 14, as Montreal played host to the 23rd annual Gémeaux Awards.

MONTREAL: Unseasonable humidity and nasty storm clouds couldn’t keep the biggest stars of the French-Canadian television industry away from the Place des Arts complex Sept. 14, as Montreal played host to the 23rd annual Gémeaux Awards.

Host Véronique Cloutier, whose sitcom C.A. was nominated for best comedy series, entertained the 1,250 invitees with several humorous sketches, while more than 1.4 million watched the Radio-Canada broadcast from home.

But in between the spectacle of song and dance there were awards to be handed out, and the big winner of the evening was Les Lavigueur, la vraie histoire. The first and only season of the popular six-episode drama, from Locomotion’s Marc S. Grenier and Denis Martel, bested fellow nominees États-humains, Le négociateur and Les soeurs Elliot for the coveted prize of best dramatic series.

The Radio-Canada show pretty much swept the drama categories, as both best lead actor and best lead actress in a dramatic series went to stars Pierre Verville and Laurence Leboeuf, respectively.

Verville was quick to heap praise on his co-stars after winning the award. ‘These awards are nice, but had I not won it wouldn’t have been a big thing. We do something we can be proud of and the rest is a bonus,’ he said backstage. ‘I’m so proud of this team and our extraordinary director [Sylvain Archambault]. When you work on a show like this it’s a mega-machine.’

The 22-year-old Leboeuf echoed her co-star’s sentiments, talking to reporters after her win. ‘We’re celebrating the end of the project and it’s so great to finish like this with everyone being thanked for what they did. I’m so excited for everyone involved,’ she said.

Les Lavigueur also picked up awards for best direction, best screenplay and best sound in a drama, as well as best design and best wardrobe.

The prize for best comedy series this year went to Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin, and the show’s star Suzanne Clément provided the most energy of the night, jumping onstage to accept her Gémeaux for best lead actress in a comedy.

‘I’m submerged in happiness!’ beamed the actress. ‘The mixture of comedy and drama in Sophie was something I really wanted to do, and to receive that opportunity is an incredible gift. To be given an award for a project like this is so much sweeter because it’s something I care about so deeply.’

The show is the basis of CBC’s English-Canadian hit Sophie.

The other big winners include:

• Best lead actress in a téléroman: Guylaine Tremblay, Annie et ses hommes

• Best lead actor in a téléroman: Sébastien Delorme, La promesse

• Best lead actor in a comedy series: Marc Labrèche, Le coeur a ses raisons

• Best host in a talk show or interview series, Guy A. Lepage, Tout le monde en parle

• Best téléroman, Annie et ses hommes

• Best fictional children’s series: Une grenade avec ça?

In recognition of his three decades of service to the Quebec audiovisual industry, the 2008 Grand Prix de l’Acadamie was awarded to Pierre Roy, president of Chaînes Télé Astral. Roy has been a key figure in the expansion and maintenance of francophone television across Canada.

For a complete list of winners see: www.radio-canada.ca/television/gemeaux2008.