Monsieur Lazhar sweeps Genies, Philippe Falardeau named best director

David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method grabbed a slew of craft awards and a best supporting actor trophy for Viggo Mortensen, but otherwise Quebec films were the big winners on Thursday night in Toronto.

Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar may not have picked up an Oscar two weeks ago at the Academy Awards in Hollywood, but it dominated the Genie Awards on Thursday night in Toronto.

“It’s the revenge of the Oscar,” co-producer Kim McCraw (pictured, with Luc Dery) said backstage after the Quebec film took home trophies for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best director for Falardeau, and a best supporting actress honour for Sophie Nélisse.

Algerian actor Fellag won the best actor Genie for his performance as an immigrant substitute teacher in Monsieur Lazhar, and a best editing trophy went to Stéphane Lafleur.

“The competition was really strong this year. We were blessed to be nominated with four excellent films, so we feel privileged to win six Genies,” fellow co-producer Luc Dery told the assembled media backstage.

“I had 60 pounds of Genies in my hands, and I weigh 70 pounds,” Falardeau added alongside his joyous producers after his latest film dominated the Canadian film awards.

Elsewhere in the acting categories, Vanessa Paradis took the best actress Genie for her star turn in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Café de Flore, and Viggo Mortensen won for best supporting actor for his performance as Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method.

The increased number of Canadian films structured as international co-productions meant Sophie Nélisse (pictured) was the only local actor to receive a Genie in the acting categories this year, as the rest of the hardware went to foreign leads like Mortensen and Paradis.

David Cronenberg’s psychological thriller also took home a host of craft awards, including best art direction, best original score for Howard Shore and best overall sound, to earn a total of five Genies.

And Starbuck, which earned the Golden Reel Award as Canada’s top-grossing film last year, also took home trophies on Thursday night for best achievement in music and best original screenplay for director Ken Scott and co-writer Martin Petit.

Café de Flore also won for best visual effects and best makeup, but the Quebec film’s take of three Genies was modest considering that it earned a field-leading 13 nominations.

Other Genie winners: Lucie Lambert, Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault won the best feature length documentary prize for La Nuit, Elles Dansent; Sirmilik, made by a team of directors led by Zacharias Kunuk, won the best short doc Genie; and Ian Harnarine and Ryan Silbert won the Genie for best short live action drama with Doubles With Slight Pepper.