Performers heartened by diversity of nominees for Canadian Screen Awards

While diversity woes plague the Oscars, Canadian performers are touting a much more inclusive slate of nominees for this country’s biggest film and television awards.

TORONTO — While diversity woes plague the Oscars, Canadian performers are touting a much more inclusive slate of nominees for this country’s biggest film and television awards.

Film actors nominated for Canadian Screen Awards include Waris Ahluwalia and Balinder Johal for Beeba Boys, and Irdens Exantus for My Internship in Canada.

On the TV side, acting nominations include Adrian Holmes for 19-2, Al Mukadam for Spun Out, Brittany LeBorgne for Mohawk Girls and Lyriq Bent, Aunjanue Ellis and Shailyn Pierre-Dixon for Book of Negroes.

Helga Stephenson, the head of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television — which administers the awards — says her group’s members are generally younger and include more women than the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, which runs the Oscars.

The Oscars bash is facing calls for a boycott over its all-white acting nominees. The academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, has responded by promising “big changes,” including an examination of its membership.

Many observers expected nominations for Idris Elba of Beasts of No Nation and Benicio Del Toro for Sicario. The N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton also failed to earn a best picture nomination, despite some predictions it would.

Holmes says he was rooting for Elba and was disappointed when the celebrated British actor failed to make the cut. But he says it’s a much different story in Canada.

“Here, I think we did a great job. It was very diverse, I thought,” Holmes says of the list of nominees, revealed Tuesday at a downtown press conference.

He was watching the Oscars flap unfold and was keen to see Isaacs’s pledge take root.

“Hopefully we’ll get it right, more consistently,” he says.

“We are definitely making improvements but we’re not 100 per cent there yet and I’m being optimistic that we will get there.”

LeBorgne, whose APTN show Mohawk Girls is also up for best TV comedy, says she was heartened to see a variety of ethnicities among Canadian nominees.

“It’s such a diverse group of people and I think that actually reflects what Canada is, who Canada is. I think that’s amazing,” she says.

But Reign actress Megan Follows says more can always be done to nurture diverse storytelling.

“We are an incredibly diverse country so our stories need to reflect that,” says the veteran star, up for best actress in a TV drama for the period saga.

“It’s critical that we do that.”

Stephenson says the Canadian academy’s 4,000 members are about 40 per cent female and most are between the ages of 35 and 50.

“Are we perfect? No. Is there more to do? Lots. But nonetheless I don’t think we face the same problems as the academy in the States,” she says.

19-2 showrunner Bruce Smith says the Oscars problem can also be traced to casting.

“We ended up with a really wonderfully diverse cast just by casting each part and giving them to the best actor for each role,” says Smith.

“There is something wrong when all the nominees in an entire country are white. What the hell? Either people aren’t getting the roles or their work’s not being recognized. Something’s wrong there.”

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read