Actors question if new Canadian Screen Awards format gives talent enough spotlight

TORONTO — A recent change in the Canadian Screen Awards format has some Canadian talent questioning whether it will give actors and creators enough time in the spotlight.

While awards will be handed out in-person for the first time since the pandemic, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television announced earlier this month that the traditional live broadcast, which honours the best in film and television, will be replaced with a pre-taped telecast hosted by Samantha Bee.

Comedy star and “Schitt's Creek” co-creator Eugene Levy says Canadian creators deserve their moment on stage, and cutting the live show doesn't do "justice to the industry that you're supposed to be serving.”

The Academy's VP of Programming and Awards Louis Calabro says the organization wanted a curated show to better engage audiences. The one-hour special will incorporate celebrity interviews and highlights from preceding galas that will hand out awards in genre categories.

“Sort Of" and "Wong & Winchester" actor Grace Lynn Kung wonders what winners may have to do in order to stand out and make it into the hour-long broadcast. She questions if some will feel the need to "step up their speeches or drama game to make it."

Writer-director Anthony Shim, whose film "Riceboy Sleeps" has picked up several accolades on the festival circuit, says he was hoping for a "back-to-normal awards ceremony" this year noting the in-person element adds a bit of glamour to the demanding aspects of filmmaking.

Awards will be handed out in a series of live, non-televised bashes April 11 to 14. Marquee categories including best film and TV shows will be announced April 16 on CBC and CBC Gem.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2023.

Noel Ransome, The Canadian Press