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‘BlackBerry,’ ‘Little Bird’ head into Canadian Screen Awards seeking more hardware

Written by on May 31, 2024

TORONTO — A rollicking dramedy about the rise and fall of an era-defining smartphone and a limited series about a ’60s Scoop survivor are among the top contenders seeking trophies at today’s Canadian Screen Awards.

“BlackBerry,” helmed by Toronto’s Matt Johnson, is up for best film, best director and best lead comedy performance for Montreal’s Jay Baruchel.

It already collected 11 trophies at a gala last night that handed out the bulk of the film prizes, nabbing best adapted screenplay, best cinematography and best supporting comedy performer for U.S. actor Glenn Howerton.

Among TV contenders, the Crave/APTN series “Little Bird” is up for best drama series and best lead drama performer for Ellyn Jade and Darla Contois.

It enters today’s bash having already won 11 trophies, including best drama ensemble, best casting and best supporting drama performer for Braeden Clarke.

Marquee categories will be announced at a two-hour gala hosted by comic Mae Martin in Toronto this afternoon. Highlights will be broadcast as a one-hour special on CBC and CBC Gem at 8 p.m. ET.

Set in 1990s Waterloo, Ont., “BlackBerry” follows the Icarus-like ascent of the BlackBerry mobile device and its inventors. Baruchel stars as company co-founder Mike Lazaridis and Howerton plays co-CEO Jim Balsillie. “BlackBerry” entered the race as the most nominated film in the 11-year history of the Screen Awards with 17 nods.

Other best film contenders are drag queen drama “Solo,” sci-fi horror “Infinity Pool,” teen love dramedy “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” psychological thriller “Red Rooms (Les chambres rouges)” and workplace abuse portrait “Richelieu.”

“Little Bird,” centred on a ’60s Scoop survivor fostered by a Jewish family in Montreal, took home 11 trophies at a pair of galas honouring craft and television programs and performances Thursday. Co-created by Toronto’s Jennifer Podemski and Ottawa’s Hannah Moscovitch, it features a largely Indigenous cast and creative team and began the race with 19 nominations.

The six-part show faces off against CBC’s “Essex County” and “Plan B,” Hollywood Suite’s “Slasher: Ripper” and CTV’s “Transplant” for best drama series.

The seventh and final season of CBC sitcom “Workin’ Moms” is among the contenders for best comedy series, competing with Crave’s “Letterkenny” and “Bria Mack Gets A Life,” CTV’s “Shelved” and CBC’s “Son of a Critch.”

The annual celebration of the best in homegrown film, television and digital media is run by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Traditionally, the bash has been broadcast live to home viewers but this year’s edition will air as a one-hour show comprised of taped tributes and highlights from the two-hour gala.

In an interview earlier this week, Academy CEO Tammy Frick said “the majority of the show will very much feel like a live show.”

She said the organization “listened” to feedback on last year’s pre-taped hour-long telecast hosted by Samantha Bee, which was largely panned for featuring segments taped in New York well-ahead of the announcement.

In the days leading up to the telecast, that experiment drew criticism from industry figures including Eugene Levy, who argued Canadian creators deserved a live celebration.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024.

Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press