Honouring outstanding performances this past year among ACTRA members, the 2017 edition of the ACTRA Awards (now in its 15th year) were held at The Carlu tonight in Toronto. The organization contains 22,000+ members and it negotiates contracts on behalf of its cultural workers. Its jurisdiction ranges from independent film production, commercials, radio and television drama, telephony, video games and web-based content. ACTRA ensures members have protected minimum wage standards and working conditions. Several of Canada’s most notable names in entertainment are a part of the organization.
It was a who’s-who of Canadian talent at the affair including man of the hour, Murdoch Mysteries’ Yannick Bisson who received the 2017 ACTRA Award of Excellence. Just last year he received the coveted Fan Choice Award at the Canadian Screen Awards, as a testament to his lasting popularity with over 60 credits over 35 years on his resume. He imparts a bit of wisdom to his peers, reminding them “There are literally hundreds of people on set at any given time to make actors look good. Be gracious, always.”.
The Cast of Kim’s Convenience were awarded the first-ever Series Ensemble Award, based on member votes. Its star Jean Yoon, who was fashionably-late to the Gala, won Outstanding Performance – Female and made an impactful statement in her speech. “I’m really proud to be working on a show about immigrants in a time of nationalist intolerance”, says Yoon. The Cast dedicated their award to all immigrant families, stating “You are here. You are welcome. And you are loved.”.
Aurora Browne, Carolyn Taylor and Jennifer Whalen of the Baroness Von Sketch troupe played hosting duties at the gala and in attendance were this year’s nominees: Grace Lynn Kung (The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger), Tatiana Maslany (Two Lovers and a Bear), Kari Matchett (Maudi), Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience), Joey Klein (We’re Still Together), Simu Liu (Blood and Water), Eric Osborne (Degrassi: Next Class) and Gord Rand (Orphan Black). Other notables present included: Kristian Bruun, Tantoo Cardinal, Wendy Crewson, Shawn Doyle, Kevin Hanchard, Art Hindle, Amanda Joy, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent, Julian Richings, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Kate Trotter.
Awards presented this evening (winners in bold blue), including the brand new Ensemble Award (members’ choice):
Nominees for Outstanding Performance – Voice
Lilly Bartlam (Dot) Dot., “Bring the Thunder” (Industrial Brothers) Linda Kash (Gina Falcone) Fugget About It, “Vagina’s Got Talent” (9 Story Media Group)
Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring (Various) This is That, Episode 406 (CBC)
Bryn McAuley (Suzi) Camp Lakebottom, “Ice Queen” (9 Story Media Group)
Scott McCord (Rudolph Mintenberg) Atomic Puppet, “AP vs Disastro II” (Mercury Filmworks)
Nominees for Outstanding Performance – Female
Brenda Bazinet (Judge Susan Reeves) Shoot the Messenger, “Careful What You Pray For” (Hungry Eyes Film & Television)
Grace Lynn Kung (Pam Naardlinger) The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger (Cinéman Films)
Tatiana Maslany (Lucy) Two Lovers and a Bear (Max Films Productions)
Kari Matchett (Sandra) Maudie (Small Shack Productions Inc., Painted House Films, Parallel Films) Jean Yoon (Umma) Kim’s Convenience, “Gay Discount” (Thunderbird Films)
Nominees for Outstanding Performance – Male
Simu Liu (Paul Xie) Blood and Water, Episode 1.8 (Breakthrough Entertainment) Joey Klein (Bobby) We’re Still Together (Achromatic Media)
Eric Osborne (Miles Hollingsworth) Degrassi: Next Class, “#YesMeansYes” (DHX Media)
Gord Rand (Det. Duko) Orphan Black, “The Redesign of Natural Objects” (Temple Street Productions)
Paul Soles (Joe) My 90-Year-Old Roommate (LoCo Motion Pictures)
Nominees for Series Ensemble Award
Baroness Von Sketch Show Kim’s Convenience
See some Snaps from the evening:
The Cast and Crew of ORPHAN BLACK, Nominees
Tatiana Maslany, Nominee
Yannick Bisson, 2017 ACTRA Award of Excellence Recipient
Nominations were announced earlier today at Oliver & Bonacini‘s Aperture Room for the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, now in their fifth year. Announcing nominees were a trio of Canadian talent including actors Maxim Roy (Shadowhunters), Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) and Amanda Brugel (The Handmaid’s Tale).
With 134 categories, divided by Digital Media, Television and Film, the Awards brought out some familiar and new names. Leading the Television nominees once again is ORPHAN BLACK with a stellar 14 nominations (and wins in the past three consecutive years) including Best Dramatic Series and Actress (Tatiana Maslany).SCHITT’S CREEK, also a multi-CSA winner which just premiered in its third season, follows closely in second with 13 nominations, while KIM’S CONVENIENCE gets 11 nominations in its debut. The latter two, both from CBC, compete for Best Comedy Series.
Leading the Film nominations with nine nods is Xavier Dolan‘s IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD including Best Motion Picture and Direction, Canada’s Best Foreign Picture entry at the upcoming Academy Awards. RACE, also filmed in Montreal like WORLD, gets eight nominations, while BEFORE THE STREETS, OPERATION AVALANCHE and WEIRDOS each get six nods apiece.
Newly-appointed Academy CEO Beth Janson who returned to Canada recently after a stint in the U.S., comments on the lack of a star system in Canada and hence the necessity of recognizing our own Canadian talent which she is certain has no shortage of. “The stories we tell are increasingly reflective of our diverse experiences as Canadians, and that is a trend to cherish”, she tells a room of industry, media and nominees.
Some Snaps from the Breakfast:
Academy President, Martin Katz
Actress, Amanda Brugel
Actor, Simu Liu
Actress, Maxim Roy
Nominees Jennifer Dale and Adrian Holmes
Team Schitt’s Creek congratulate Catherine O’Hara on her nod!
The 2017 Canadian Screen Awards air live on CBCSunday, March 12, 2017 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, hosted by Howie Mandel. Academy Award winner Christopher Plummerthat night is slated to be honoured with aLifetime Achievement Award. The Awards cap-off Canadian Screen Week, which takes place between Monday, March 6 – Sunday, March 12, 2017. Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer that night is slated to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Like previous years, Fans will have a chance to engage with various events set to take place leading up to the Awards. Visit ACADEMY.CA for updates.
Unless you really aren’t paying attention, ads for KIM’S CONVENIENCE have taken over the City these past few weeks. Billboards, bus shelters, you name it – CBC wants you to know about this groundbreaking new comedic series led by an Asian-Canadian cast, based on Playwright Ins Choi‘s play of the same name which won rave reviews. The Series, premiering Tuesday, October 11, 20169 PM EST hones-in on the inter-generational conflict between a family of Korean immigrants. We had the chance to chat with up-and-coming actor Simu Liu who not only stars in KIM’S CONVENIENCE as Jung, but also appears on upcoming NBC Series, TAKEN – both filmed here in Toronto.
1. Tell us what drew you most to your role on KIM’S CONVENIENCE and tell us about the casting process.
Liu: What drew me to this role is Jung’s troubled relationship with his father. I related a lot to the struggle of growing up with one culture at home and another at school, and I found a lot of catharsis doing scenes between Jung and Appa. My own relationship with my parents is not what’s on the show, but there are some definite similarities. I hope that a lot of children from immigrant families watching this can learn to appreciate their parents’ hard work and sacrifice in coming to Canada.
2. Tell us a bit more about your character Jung.
Liu: Jung is a guy who has a bit of a rebellious past. He ran with the wrong crowd in high school, got kicked out of the house, and ended up getting in a bit of trouble with the law. Jung begins the show doing grunt work at a car rental company. He’s confident, charismatic and a natural leader, and he’s made a commitment to make something better of his life. While he still keeps in contact with his mom and sister, Jung’s relationship to his father is still rocky; in fact, they haven’t spoken in almost ten years.
3. We see your extensive stunt work on your résumé. Tell us about some of the most dangerous work you’ve done thus far.
Liu: Oh jeez – well it would have to be on Heroes Reborn. I was on supposed to do a simple fall in the fight sequence but when we got on set the director wanted something more. So the coordinator asked if I could get clotheslined in the neck, do a backflip and then land on my face. I had practiced the stunt on soft floor before but we were on set already and I hadn’t rehearsed it. I was fairly confident in my abilities and we were able to get the shot!
4. We see you are working on two Toronto productions at once, TAKEN and KIM’S CONVENIENCE. How do you juggle both?
Liu: I gave up sleep for a few weeks! On more than one occasion I would be waking up at 5:30am to do a full 14 hr day on one set, have a car waiting to transport me to the other to work an 8 hr day, go home to shower and then be on set again at 6 the next day. I am eternally grateful to the production managers of both shows as well as my eternally dedicated agent Andrea Britton for making it possible to shoot two shows at once. Looking back it truly was the craziest, most memorable summer I have ever had.
5. Okay, you’re at a convenience store. We give you a $10 budget. What do you buy?
A bag of Jalapeño chips, an ice cream sandwich and a can of Diet Coke!