Canadian Screen Awards 2016: Press room highlights

Kristin Lehman

Tonight’s a big night in Toronto for film and television as the gala for the Canadian Screen Awards brings Canada’s stars and filmmakers together at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Awards have been handed out throughout the week, but tonight’s trophies cover the big categories, including Best Performances for film and television, Fan Choice awards, and Best Dramatic and Comedy Series.

Once again I’m backstage in the press room, and I’m going to be picking highlights to feature throughout the night and liveblogging as much as possible. The red carpet just wrapped a little while ago and the pre-show is underway, with the televised show starting in just a few minutes.

Check back for quotes and photos throughout the show, and afterwards.

Pictured above: Kristin Lehman from Motive on the CSA red carpet.

8:02 PM: Host Norm MacDonald is on stage and commented that, to keep people from fast-forwarding through the good parts, “We have decided not to have any good parts.”

MacDonald has been ribbing the stars, but the stand out moment is when he talked about the idea for the name of the Screen Award. One name they have thought about using is the Candy, or the Candy’s, as an homage to John Candy. Make it happen, people.

8:10 PM: Rising young star Jacob Tremblay is up presenting the first award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama and he just stole the show, and he even called the award The Candy.

“I won a Candy and I got to meet you,” award winner Ari Millen, for Orphan Black, quips before his speech.

8:17 PM: Catherine O’Hara wins on stage for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy, and gushes about working on Schitt’s Creek with the cast, and feeling like it’s an “embarrassment of riches” playing this woman who lost everything.

8:19 PM: Ari Millen is backstage to talk about his win, and he’s fully on board with calling the award the Candy. He also is very proud to talk about being on Orphan Black, and considers just the role as a main cast member the real moment of pride.

Stay tuned for the video after the awards.

8:29 PM: Room author and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is backstage in the press room to talk about her win for Adapted Screenplay, and she professes to write from a “treadmill desk. It’s the wave of the future.”

And she’s blown away by what a big year she had with the book and the film. She says that she also imagined the film should be made here in Canada when she was working on the screenplay.

She has decided to start writing for children because of how much she enjoyed working on Room.

8:36 PM: Eugene Levy won for Schitt’s Creek as Best Actor in a Comedy, Sunnyside won for Ensemble Best Performance in a Comedy, and Nick Serino won for Best Supporting Actor in Sleeping Giant. Backstage Serino talked about how it was just “amazing” to hang out with his friends for the summer and shooting 70 hours worth of film that felt totally natural.

8:43 PM: Host Norm MacDonald is on stage showing off the contents of the “swag bag” that winners will get, which jokingly includes “A loose pancake,” a CD of Nelly Furtado singing all the national anthems, and Eau du Don Cherry cologne.

8:46 PM: For the record, it’s difficult shooting the video in the press room and asking a question. Unfortunately, asking questions while holding a camera makes for bad video, which I regret during Ari Millen’s visit, but I’m working on a solution.

8:51 PM: Tatiana Maslany is not in town to accept the award, but she won Best Actress for her many roles in Orphan Black, and thanked the entire cast and crew for being so incredible to work with.

9:00 PM: Brie Larson was also not here, but she picked up the Candy for Best Actress in Room, which almost goes without saying, considering the success of the film, and the accolades they have been winning.

Yannick Bisson then steps up to accept the Fan’s Choice Award for Murdoch Mysteries, and gushes about the fans, and thanks his wife for all her support. He then announces that CBC is starting work on the 10th season of Murdoch Mysteries.

Yannick Bisson
Yannick Bisson

9:05 PM: Bisson steps into the press room to talk about the success of Murdoch Mysteries world-wide, and the fact that the 9th season was the most popular to date, which is remarkable.

When I asked him about The Adventures of Napkin Man, he smiled, and said that there were discussions going on, and essentially we’ll have to wait and see if there will be a third season. My daughter and I are waiting patiently for the news.

Video coming up from his chat backstage after the end of the show.

9:10 PM: Eugene Levy is on stage to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary Martin Short. We’re treated to a series of clips from his career, and then he takes the stage to say thanks.

“Just because I say thank-you doesn’t mean you have to stop clapping,” Short jokes. “A Lifetime Achievement ‘Candy’, oh you shouldn’t have. I didn’t know I was sick.”

His joke routine keeps going, proving even more why he’s such an icon.

Short gets serious though, and says, “For over 40 years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the greatest comedic talents imaginable.” He even admits that Levy was the guy who convinced him to get into show business.

The Book of Negroes
The Book of Negroes

9:28 PM: The Book of Negroes wins for Best TV Limited Series, with the team thanking all of the fans who watched. It took 5 years and a “small village” of people to make the series happen, and they thank the CBC and Entertainment One for backing them, among a number of other backers, and “Film Nova Scotia, which unfortunately, is no more.”

9:42 PM: “Candy!” Jacob Tremblay is back on stage, but this time to accept the award for Best Actor, and he won against the likes of Christopher Plummer and Rossif Sutherland.

Before this, Snowtime! won the Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film, based on ticket sales, and the team for The Book of Negroes comes back to talk more about making the series. We’ll have video from that moment by tomorrow.

9:50 PM: Benjamin August won the award for Best Screenplay for Remember; somehow Corner Gas: The Movie won the Golden Screen Award for TV Drama or Comedy (beating out Murdoch Mysteries, Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, and The Book of Negroes); 19-2 won for Best Dramatic Series; and Schitt’s Creek won Best Comedy Series.

For the awards, there are only two left: Direction and Best Film, but backstage in the press room we’re still waiting on lots of talent. Hopefully Martin Short will be back, and of course young star Jacob Tremblay.

10:00 PM: Director Lenny Abrahamson is not here for the award, but he won the richly deserved Achievement in Direction

Right after that, Room took the award for Best Motion Picture. That’s it for the show, but we’re sticking around the press room for the last few interviews.

Schitt's Creek
Schitt’s Creek

10:20 PM: The cast of Schitt’s Creek arrives in the press room and talked about the show, but my favorite moment was Eugene Levy talking about what he thought about the CSA being called The Candy. He got a little emotional talking about John Candy, I would say, and had some wonderful thoughts to share about the legendary Canadian.

Catherine O’Hara agreed, and also answered a question about the possibility of a Beetlejuice sequel. She said that she hasn’t heard anything about a sequel yet, but she wants to be involved if and when there is one.

Finally, Levy talked about the fact that the team behind SCTV, including the original cast, are talking about doing a 40th anniversary show. There is no definitive plans at this point, but they’re thinking about it. Watch the video of the Schitt’s Creek cast.

10:30 PM: 19-2 came back and confirmed that the third season is coming to Bravo in “Spring” this year, btu there is no solid date yet. They’re hopeful this win tonight will help push them to confirm a date though.

Jacob Tremblay
Jacob Tremblay

10:45 PM: Jacob Tremblay arrived in the press room and he’s worth all the hype. I met him very briefly during TIFF last year, but it’s interesting to see him in the spotlight now. He’s the same, but now he’s talking about how he keeps his awards next to his Millennium Falcon at home.

Tremblay finishes up by saying that he hopes he gets to work with Brie Larson again. Watch the video of Jacob in the press room.

And that’s the night! Stay tuned for the video from tonight.

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W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls. In his "spare time," Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.