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Canadian Film Awards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canadian Film Awards
Awarded forBest film productions in Canada
First awarded1949
Last awarded1978

The Canadian Film Awards were the leading Canadian cinema awards from 1949 until 1978. These honours were conducted annually, except in 1974 when a number of Quebec directors withdrew their participation and prompted a cancellation.[1]

The awards were succeeded by the Academy of Canadian Cinema's Genie Awards in 1980.[2]

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The award was first established in 1949 by the Canadian Association for Adult Education,[1] under a steering committee that included the National Film Board's James Beveridge, the Canadian Foundation's Walter Herbert, filmmaker F. R. Crawley, the National Gallery of Canada's Donald Buchanan and diplomat Graham McInnes.[1] The initial jury consisted of Hye Bossin, managing editor of Canadian Film Weekly; M. Stein of Famous Players; CBC film critic Gerald Pratley; Moira Armour of the Toronto and Vancouver Film societies; and Ian MacNeill from CAAE.[1]

The first presentation was held on April 27, 1949 at the Little Elgin Theatre in Ottawa.[1]

With only a handful of Canadian films released each year, they were generally a small affair. Unlike the eligibility rules for the contemporary Canadian Screen Awards, which are based on the film having already been screened theatrically in either commercial release or the film festival circuit, in the Canadian Film Awards era films, even if otherwise unreleased, were eligible for nominations or awards based solely on their submission to a dedicated Canadian Film Awards screening festival.

In 1957, The Globe and Mail columnist Ronald Johnson criticized the awards' publicity efforts, noting that even Bossin was not actually receiving the press releases and that many of the releases which were going out were being sent to journalists not involved in covering or reporting on film.[3] The paper's film critic Jay Scott later described them as "honours given by presenters no one knew, to recipients no one recognized, to films no one had seen."[4]

With very few feature films made in Canada at all prior to the 1960s, in some years no Film of the Year winner was named at all, with the awards for Best Short Film or Best Amateur Film instead constituting the highest honour given to a film that year.[1] Even the award for Film of the Year, when presented at all, generally also went to a short film. The awards were also almost totally dominated by the National Film Board, to the point that independent filmmakers sometimes alleged a systemic bias which was itself a contributing factor to the difficulty of building a sustainable commercial film industry in Canada.[4] Particularly in the 1960s, television films were also eligible for the awards; in 1969, in fact, no theatrical films were deemed worthy of the awards at all, and the nominees and winners consisted almost entirely of television films.[5] Following the creation of the ACTRA Awards for television in 1972, however, television films were no longer commonly seen among the award nominees.

A separate award for Best Feature Film was instituted in 1964. Acting awards were introduced in 1968, and then expanded into separate categories for lead and supporting performers the following year.

In 1968, a bronze award statuette was designed by sculptor Sorel Etrog, and thereafter the award was often referred to as an Etrog Award.[1] Two special awards, the John Grierson Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian cinema and the Wendy Michener Award for outstanding artistic achievement, were also added in later years.[1]

Quebec crisis of the 1970s

In the 1970s, the organization frequently faced crises related to the francophone film industry in Quebec. This began in 1970, when filmmaker Jean Pierre Lefebvre threatened to withdraw his film Q-Bec My Love from the competition if the Ontario Censor Board did not withdraw its demand for the film to be edited.[6] Several other filmmakers were also prepared to withdraw in solidarity, although provincial cabinet minister James Auld intervened to dissuade the board from insisting on the cuts.[6]

In 1973, a number of Quebec filmmakers boycotted the awards, out of a perception that the organization had a systemic bias against francophone films.[7] This protest resulted in the last-minute cancellation of the 1973 awards ceremony, with the winners announced only at a press conference, and the complete cancellation of the 1974 awards. When the awards returned in 1975, the eligibility period covered the entire two-year period since the previous ceremony in 1973; however, the awards committee revived the defunct Film of the Year category alongside the ongoing Best Feature Film award, so that two Best Pictures, one for each of 1974 and 1975, could be named.[8] The 1973 awards were also criticized for the jury's choice of Slipstream as Best Feature Film over a field of four other much stronger nominees,[9] with some writers later declaring that the film's victory, over enduring Canadian film classics such as Kamouraska and Réjeanne Padovani, essentially confirmed that the boycotting directors were correct in their beliefs.[4]

Evolution into the Genie Awards

After 1978, the awards were taken over by the new Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and reorganized into the new Genie Awards.[10] Despite the renaming, Etrog's statuette was retained as the design of the Genie statuettes.[11] The Genie Awards continued to be presented until 2012, when the Academy merged them with its Gemini Awards program for television to create the contemporary Canadian Screen Awards.

When Academy publicist Maria Topalovich was preparing a history of the awards for publication in the early 1980s, she found that even the Academy itself had not received complete documentation of the awards' past winners and nominees in the takeover,[4] and instead she had to undertake extensive archival research.[4]

Awards ceremonies

The following is a listing of all Canadian Film Awards Ceremonies.

Ceremony Date Host(s) Venue Film of the Year Feature Film (1964–78)
1949 Canadian Film Awards April 27, 1949 Robert Winters Little Elgin Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario The Loon's Necklace None awarded
1950 Canadian Film Awards April 19, 1950 Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent Little Elgin Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1951 Canadian Film Awards April 22, 1951 Mary Pickford Odeon Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1952 Canadian Film Awards April 27, 1952 Sidney Earle Smith Victoria Theatre, Toronto, Ontario Newfoundland Scene None awarded
1953 Canadian Film Awards April 30, 1953 Jacques DesBaillets (with guest Dorothy Lamour) Avenue Theatre, Montreal, Quebec Tit-Coq None awarded
1954 Canadian Film Awards May 10, 1954 J. R. White (Imperial Oil president) Kent Theatre, Montreal, Quebec The Seasons None awarded
1955 Canadian Film Awards 1955 No public ceremony No public ceremony The Stratford Adventure None awarded
1956 Canadian Film Awards August 6, 1956 Maurice Evans Avon Theatre, Stratford, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1957 Canadian Film Awards June 15, 1957 Leonard Brockington King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1958 Canadian Film Awards June 21, 1958 Davidson Dunton King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario City of Gold None awarded
1959 Canadian Film Awards June 5, 1959 W. J. Sheridan King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1960 Canadian Film Awards June 3, 1960 Albert Trueman King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1961 Canadian Film Awards May 13, 1961 Alphonse Ouimet King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario Universe None awarded
1962 Canadian Film Awards May 26, 1962 Andrew Stewart King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded None awarded
1963 Canadian Film Awards May 10, 1963 Jeanine Beaubien Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Lonely Boy None awarded
1964 Canadian Film Awards May 8, 1964 Wayne and Shuster Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario Pour la suite du monde À tout prendre
1965 Canadian Film Awards May 15, 1965 Max Ferguson Westbury Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded The Luck of Ginger Coffey
1966 Canadian Film Awards May 6, 1966 Rich Little Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec The Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam Mission of Fear (Le Festin des Morts)
1967 Canadian Film Awards September 23, 1967 Fred Davis Inn on the Park, Toronto, Ontario Warrendale Warrendale
1968 Canadian Film Awards October 4, 1968 Bill Walker, Louise Marleau Seaway Towers Hotel, Toronto, Ontario A Place to Stand The Ernie Game
1969 Canadian Film Awards October 4, 1969 Fred Davis Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar Vertige
1970 Canadian Film Awards October 3, 1970 Bill Walker Imperial Theatre, Toronto, Ontario To See Or Not to See (Psychocratie) Goin' Down the Road
1971 Canadian Film Awards October 1, 1971 Leslie Nielsen Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded Mon oncle Antoine
1972 Canadian Film Awards October 13, 1972 Jacques Fauteux Ontario Place Cinesphere, Toronto, Ontario None awarded Wedding in White
1973 Canadian Film Awards October 12, 1973 Press conference, no formal ceremony Chevalier Theatre, Montreal, Quebec None awarded Slipstream
1975 Canadian Film Awards October 12, 1975 No Ceremony in 1974
Peter Gzowski Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Les Ordres
1976 Canadian Film Awards October 21, 1976 Lorne Greene CFTO-TV Studios, Scarborough, Ontario None awarded Lies My Father Told Me
1977 Canadian Film Awards November 20, 1977 Gordon Pinsent Hilton Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto, Ontario None awarded J.A. Martin photographe
1978 Canadian Film Awards September 21, 1978 John Candy, Catherine O'Hara Ryerson Theatre, Toronto, Ontario None awarded The Silent Partner
Genie Awards from 1980
Ceremony Date Host(s) Venue Film of the Year Feature Film (1964–78)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Townend, Paul. "Canadian Film Awards". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  2. ^ "The Genie Awards". Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Archived from the original on 2009-01-03. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  3. ^ "Moving with the movies". The Globe and Mail, June 17, 1957.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Coffee-table Genie-alogy took some reel sleuthing". The Globe and Mail, March 21, 1985.
  5. ^ "No Theatre Films Up for Awards". Ottawa Journal. September 24, 1969. p. 31. Retrieved August 5, 2017 – via open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ a b "Canadian Film Awards copes with string of crises". The Globe and Mail, September 28, 1970.
  7. ^ "Rebirth of the film awards". The Globe and Mail, October 2, 1975.
  8. ^ "Les Ordes [sic] takes top cinema award"". Brandon Sun. October 15, 1975. p. 19. Retrieved March 28, 2018 – via Free to read
  9. ^ "The stinkers of '73". The Globe and Mail, December 29, 1973.
  10. ^ "Canadian 'Oscar' show new group's first aim". The Globe and Mail, April 12, 1979.
  11. ^ "Sorel Etrog's link to his past". The Globe and Mail, December 7, 1996.

Further reading

  • Topalovich, Maria; Sheffer, Andra (1984). A pictorial history of Canadian film awards. Don Mills, Ontario: Stoddart. ISBN 0-7737-2036-7.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 September 2018, at 14:19
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