CATEGORIES Movie News
By Rick Mele

The Oscars may be over, but that doesn't mean awards season is finished -- at least not in Canada, where the 32nd Annual Genie Awards were held in Toronto Thursday night. Honoring the best in Canadian cinema, the hour-long telecast went off mostly without a hitch.

Not bad considering co-host Andrea Martin backed out of her emcee duties a mere 24 hours earlier. Viggo Mortensen brought a little Hollywood star power to the evening as David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" won five Genies, but otherwise, it was Quebec's night at the Westin Harbour Castle. Because while Philippe Falardeau's "Monsieur Lazhar" may have gone home empty-handed at the Oscars in February, Falardeau had his arms full Thursday night, winning a total of six trophies, including Best Picture.

Monsieur Lazhar's "Revenge" After getting shut out as Canada's official submission at the Academy Awards, writer/director Philippe Falardeau got his chance to thank the Academy after all -- though, in this case, it was the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. The Montreal-based story of an Algerian immigrant substitute teacher hired to replace an elementary school teacher who committed suicide was the night's big winner, collecting on six of its nine nominations. The film's young star Sophie Nelisse charmed both the auditorium audience and the press room after winning Best Supporting Actress for her role as one of the students, but it was producer Kim McCraw who best summed up the evening, saying, "It's the revenge of the Oscar" in reference to the near sweep by "Monsieur Lazhar."

Falardeau, who also won Achievement in Direction along with Best Adapted Screenplay, admitted to being surprised by all the honours, saying he "didn't think we'd win that many." Ever the gracious winner, he encouraged Canadian audiences to go see this year's nominees, "not because they're Canadian films, but because they're good films." Translation: who needs the Oscars? Strombo Flies Solo Meanwhile, the Genies got their very own taste of an Oscar-style hosting controversy when SCTV star Andrea Martin dropped out of co-hosting the show Wednesday afternoon. And since Billy Crystal wasn't available, that left George Stroumboulopoulos alone as the evening's emcee, a job he handled admirably considering he had all of a day to prepare, keeping the evening on schedule and on time -- the mark of any good awards host. The last-minute cancellation was apparently so Martin could shoot a sitcom pilot for CBS, something Stroumboulopoulos (and Martin) poked fun at during a pre-recorded opening bit and throughout the telecast. Still, it was an uncomfortable reminder that for all the evening's pomp and circumstance, the celebratory gala could still be outranked by an American TV pilot. Next year, we're betting the Genies follow "SNL"'s lead with Lindsay Lohan and have a back-up host ready to go just in case.

Viggo Shows His True Colours But during a night of metaphoric flag-waving, Viggo Mortensen stole the show by breaking out an actual flag during his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor for "A Dangerous Method." The die-hard Habs fan dedicated the award to his favourite team as he wrapped his newfound trophy in a Montreal Canadiens flag, all while the orchestra tried to play him off -- though maybe the conductor was a Leafs fan.

Backstage, Mortensen credited David Cronenberg for his success, saying his frequent collaborator was "the only director who could've looked at me and said you can play Sigmund Freud." He also lamented the iconic director's relative lack of awards recognition outside of Canada, referring to the fact that "he makes something that's very difficult look easy."

A Year in 60 Minutes That said, the evening wasn't without a few head-scratching moments. Like the blink-and-you-missed-it announcement of the Best Actor and Actress winners (Fellag for "Monsieur Lazhar" and Vanessa Paradis for "Cafe de Flore") -- which for some reason were revealed before the accompanying highlight montage. The short and sweet telecast lasted only an hour, as all but the six major awards (the four acting categories, Best Director and Best Picture) were handed out during a pre-show ceremony.

Instead, the leftover airtime was dedicated to bizarre figure skating numbers set to the five Original Song nominees, courtesy of a few of Canada's Olympians. Because, after all, what movie awards show would be complete without a little interpretive figure skating?

Other notable honours went to "Starbuck," which won the Cineplex Golden Reel Award as Canada's top grossing film, and Anne Emond, who won the Claude Jutra Award for her film "Nuit #1." Established in 1993, the award honours outstanding achievement by a first-time feature filmmaker.

Full List of Winners

BEST MOTION PICTURE / MEILLEUR FILM MONSIEUR LAZHAR - Luc Dery, Kim McCraw ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN / MEILLEURE DIRECTION ARTISTIQUE JAMES MCATEER - A Dangerous Method ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY / MEILLEURES IMAGES JEAN-FRANCOIS LORD - Snow & Ashes ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN / MEILLEURS COSTUMES MARIE-CHANTALE VAILLANCOURT - Funkytown ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTION / MEILLEURE REALISATION PHILIPPE FALARDEAU - Monsieur Lazhar ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING / MEILLEUR MONTAGE STEPHANE LAFLEUR - Monsieur Lazhar ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKE-UP / MEILLEURS MAQUILLAGES CHRISTIANE FATTORI, FREDERIC MARIN - Cafe de Flore ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SCORE / MEILLEURE MUSIQUE ORIGINALE HOWARD SHORE - A Dangerous Method ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SONG / MEILLEURE CHANSON ORIGINALE CAROLE FACAL - Starbuck - Quelque part PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE / INTERPRETATION MASCULINE DANS UN PREMIER ROLE FELLAG - Monsieur Lazhar PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE / INTERPRETATION MASCULINE DANS UN ROLE DE SOUTIEN VIGGO MORTENSEN - A Dangerous Method PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE / INTERPRETATION FEMININE DANS UN PREMIER ROLE VANESSA PARADIS - Cafe de Flore PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE / INTERPRETATION FEMININE DANS UN ROLE DE SOUTIEN SOPHIE NELISSE - Monsieur Lazhar ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY / MEILLEUR SCENARIO KEN SCOTT, MARTIN PETIT - Starbuck ADAPTED SCREENPLAY / MEILLEURE ADAPTATION PHILIPPE FALARDEAU - Monsieur Lazhar ACHIEVEMENT IN OVERALL SOUND / MEILLEUR SON D'ENSEMBLE OREST SUSHKO, CHRISTIAN COOKE, JACK HEEREN, REINHARD STERGAR, DON WHITE - A Dangerous Method ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING / MEILLEUR MONTAGE SONORE WAYNE GRIFFIN, ROB BERTOLA, TONY CURRIE, ALASTAIR GRAY, ANDY MALCOLM, MICHAEL O'FARRELL - A Dangerous Method ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS / MEILLEURS EFFETS VISUELS MARC COTE, STEPHANIE BROUSSAUD, GARY CHUNTZ, VINCENT DUDOUET, CYNTHIA MOUROU, ERIC NORMANDIN, MARTIN PENSA, LUC SANFACON, SYLVAIN THEROUX, NATHALIE TREMBLAY - Cafe de Flore TED ROGERS AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY / Le prix Ted Rogers pour le meilleur long metrage documentaire LA NUIT, ELLES DANSENT / AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE - Lucie Lambert, Isabelle Lavigne, Stephane Thibault BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY / MEILLEUR COURT METRAGE DOCUMENTAIRE SIRMILIK - Zacharias Kunuk, Joel McConvey, Kristina McLaughlin, Kevin McMahon, Michael McMahon, Geoff Morrison, Ryan J. Noth BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT DRAMA / MEILLEUR COURT METRAGE DRAMATIQUE DOUBLES WITH SLIGHT PEPPER - Ian Harnarine, Ryan Silbert BEST ANIMATED SHORT / MEILLEUR COURT METRAGE D'ANIMATION ROMANCE - Georges Schwizgebel, Rene Chenier, Marc Bertrand SPECIAL AWARDS CLAUDE JUTRA AWARD / PRIX CLAUDE-JUTRA Anne Emond - Nuit #1 CINEPLEX GOLDEN REEL AWARD / Prix de la Bobine d'Or Cineplex STARBUCK - Producer: Andre Rouleau (Distributed by Les Films Christal in partnership with Entertainment One).