|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
The ACTRA Awards were first presented in 1972 to celebrate excellence in Canada's television and radio industries. Organized and presented by the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists, which represented performers, writers and broadcast journalists, the Nellie statuettes were presented annually until 1986. They were the primary national television award in Canada until 1986, when they were taken over by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television to create the new Gemini Awards, although ACTRA continued to present Nellies in radio categories.
The ACTRA Awards were then revived in 2003 as a local film industry award, separately presented by each of ACTRA's regional chapters.
In 1986, following a threat by CTV to boycott the awards because of a perception that they were biased in favour of CBC Television productions, responsibility for presenting the Canadian television and film awards was transferred to the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's new Gemini Awards. Awards transferred to the Academy also included the John Drainie Award, a lifetime achievement award for distinguished contributions to Canadian broadcasting.
On the 60th anniversary of the national union in 2003, now renamed the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists and representing only performers, the ACTRA Awards were resurrected in several of its branches across Canada as a local film and television award, presented by the organization's local chapters in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes to honour achievements in film and television within their own regions. However, the revived ACTRA Awards program also includes a national Award of Excellence, presented to an actor to honour their lifetime achievements; the national award of excellence is presented to an actor who is working in Hollywood, and would thus not be eligible for a regional chapter's local award of excellence.
Some awards are handed out for performances, while others are given for union activism and contributions to the industry.
National Award of Excellence recipients
- 2003 - Leslie Nielsen
- 2004 - Lloyd Bochner
- 2005 - Tonya Lee Williams
- 2007 - Kiefer Sutherland
- 2009 - Sandra Oh
- 2010 - Eugene Levy
- 2011 - Bruce Greenwood
- 2015 - Jason Priestley
- 2016 - Neve Campbell
- 2017 - Kim Coates
- 2018 - Molly Parker
- "ACTRA". The Canadian Encyclopedia, February 6, 2006.
- "Canada's new TV award makes debut". Toronto Star, April 22, 1986.
- "Last Nellie: Charlie Grant's War; Chaykin and Willoughby top actors in final ACTRAs". Montreal Gazette, April 3, 1986.
- "CBC sweeps radio awards: CKO's Peter Varley sole winner in private sector". Toronto Star, December 3, 1986.
- ACTRA: Paul Gross to receive ACTRA Toronto's Award of Excellence Archived April 5, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- "ACTRA awards make cameo this week". Calgary Herald, February 25, 2003.
- ACTRA Awards
- "Leslie Nielsen receives ACTRA National Award of Excellence" (Press release). Toronto, Ontario: ACTRA. October 23, 2003. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- "Special ceremony held in Los Angeles honouring ACTRA Member Lloyd Bochner" (Press release). Toronto, Ontario: ACTRA. December 2, 2004. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- "Tonya Lee Williams to Receive ACTRA National Award of Excellence" (Press release). Toronto, Ontario: ACTRA. November 7, 2005. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- "Kiefer Sutherland presented with ACTRA National Award of Excellence" (Press release). Toronto, Ontario: ACTRA. September 20, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- "Neve Campbell honoured with 2016 ACTRA National Award of Excellence" (Press release). ACTRA. February 1, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- "Molly Parker to be honoured by Canadian performers with 2018 ACTRA National Award of Excellence" (Press release). Toronto, Ontario: ACTRA. November 15, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2018.