Canadian Film Award
The Canadian Film Awards were the leading Canadian cinema awards from 1949 until 1978. These honours were conducted annually, except in 1974 when a number of Quebec directors withdrew their participation and prompted a cancellation.
The award was first established in 1949 by the Canadian Association for Adult Education, under a steering committee that included the National Film Board's James Beveridge, the Canadian Foundation's Walter Herbert, filmmaker F. R. Crawley, the National Gallery of Canada's Donald Buchanan and diplomat Graham McInnes. The initial jury consisted of Hye Bossin, managing editor of Canadian Film Weekly; M. Stein of Famous Players; CBC film critic Gerald Pratley; Moira Armour of the Toronto and Vancouver Film societies; and Ian MacNeill from CAAE.
The first presentation was held on April 27, 1949 at the Little Elgin Theatre in Ottawa.
With only a handful of Canadian films released each year, they were generally a small affair. In 1957, The Globe and Mail columnist Ronald Johnson criticized the awards' publicity efforts, noting that even Bossin was not actually receiving the press releases and that many of the releases which were going out were being sent to journalists not involved in covering or reporting on film. The paper's film critic Jay Scott later described them as "honours given by presenters no one knew, to recipients no one recognized, to films no one had seen."
In several years no film was found to merit the Film of the Year award, with the awards for Best Short Film or Best Amateur Film instead constituting the highest honour given to a film that year. Even the award for Film of the Year, when presented at all, generally also went to a short film. The awards were also almost totally dominated by the National Film Board, to the point that independent filmmakers sometimes alleged a systemic bias which was itself a contributing factor to the difficulty of building a sustainable commercial film industry in Canada.
A separate award for Best Feature Film was instituted in 1964. Acting awards were introduced in 1968, and then expanded into separate categories for lead and supporting performers the following year.
In 1968, a bronze award statuette was designed by sculptor Sorel Etrog, and thereafter the award was often referred to as an Etrog Award. Two special awards, the John Grierson Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian cinema and the Wendy Michener Award for outstanding artistic achievement, were also added in later years.
Quebec crisis of the 1970s
In the 1970s, the organization frequently faced crises related to the francophone film industry in Quebec. This began in 1970, when filmmaker Jean Pierre Lefebvre threatened to withdraw his film Q-Bec My Love from the competition if the Ontario Censor Board did not withdraw its demand for the film to be edited. Several other filmmakers were also prepared to withdraw in solidarity, although provincial cabinet minister James Auld intervened to dissuade the board from insisting on the cuts.
In 1973, a number of Quebec filmmakers boycotted the awards, out of a perception that the organization had a systemic bias against francophone films. This protest resulted in the last-minute cancellation of the 1973 awards ceremony, with the winners announced only at a press conference, and the complete cancellation of the 1974 awards with the isolated exception of a Best Feature Film winner being chosen and named by press release. The 1973 awards were also criticized for the jury's choice of Slipstream as Best Feature Film over a field of four other much stronger nominees, with some writers later declaring that the film's victory, over enduring Canadian film classics such as Kamouraska and Réjeanne Padovani, essentially confirmed that the boycotting directors were correct in their beliefs.
Evolution into the Genie Awards
After 1978, the awards were taken over by the new Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and reorganized into the new Genie Awards. Despite the renaming, Etrog's statuette was retained as the design of the Genie statuettes. The Genie Awards continued to be presented until 2012, when the Academy merged them with its Gemini Awards program for television to create the contemporary Canadian Screen Awards.
When Academy publicist Maria Topalovich was preparing a history of the awards for publication in the early 1980s, she found that even the Academy itself had not received complete documentation of the awards' past winners and nominees in the takeover, and instead she had to undertake extensive archival research.
The following is a listing of all Canadian Film Awards Ceremonies.
|Ceremony||Date||Host(s)||Venue||Film of the Year||Feature Film (1964–78)|
|1st Canadian Film Awards||April 27, 1949||Robert Winters||Little Elgin Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario||The Loon's Necklace||None awarded|
|2nd Canadian Film Awards||April 19, 1950||Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent||Little Elgin Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|3rd Canadian Film Awards||April 22, 1951||Mary Pickford||Odeon Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|4th Canadian Film Awards||April 27, 1952||Sidney Earle Smith||Victoria Theatre, Toronto, Ontario||Newfoundland Scene||None awarded|
|5th Canadian Film Awards||April 30, 1953||Jacques DesBaillets (with guest Dorothy Lamour)||Avenue Theatre, Montreal, Quebec||Tit-Coq||None awarded|
|6th Canadian Film Awards||May 10, 1954||J. R. White (Imperial Oil president)||Kent Theatre, Montreal, Quebec||The Seasons||None awarded|
|7th Canadian Film Awards||1955||No public ceremony||No public ceremony||The Stratford Adventure||None awarded|
|8th Canadian Film Awards||August 6, 1956||Maurice Evans||Avon Theatre, Stratford, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|9th Canadian Film Awards||June 15, 1957||Leonard Brockington||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|10th Canadian Film Awards||June 21, 1958||Davidson Dunton||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||City of Gold||None awarded|
|11th Canadian Film Awards||June 5, 1959||W. J. Sheridan||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|12th Canadian Film Awards||June 3, 1960||Albert Trueman||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|13th Canadian Film Awards||May 13, 1961||Alphonse Ouimet||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||Universe||None awarded|
|14th Canadian Film Awards||May 26, 1962||Andrew Stewart||King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||None awarded|
|15th Canadian Film Awards||May 10, 1963||Jeanine Beaubien||Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec||Lonely Boy||None awarded|
|16th Canadian Film Awards||May 8, 1964||Wayne and Shuster||Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||Pour la suite du monde||À tout prendre|
|17th Canadian Film Awards||May 15, 1965||Max Ferguson||Westbury Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||The Luck of Ginger Coffey|
|18th Canadian Film Awards||May 6, 1966||Rich Little||Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec||The Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam||Mission of Fear (Le Festin des Morts)|
|19th Canadian Film Awards||September 23, 1967||Fred Davis||Inn on the Park, Toronto, Ontario||Warrendale||Warrendale|
|20th Canadian Film Awards||October 4, 1968||Bill Walker, Louise Marleau||Seaway Towers Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||A Place to Stand||The Ernie Game|
|21st Canadian Film Awards||October 4, 1969||Fred Davis||Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar||Vertige|
|22nd Canadian Film Awards||October 3, 1970||Bill Walker||Imperial Theatre, Toronto, Ontario||To See Or Not to See (Psychocratie)||Goin' Down the Road|
|23rd Canadian Film Awards||October 1, 1971||Leslie Nielsen||Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||Mon oncle Antoine|
|24th Canadian Film Awards||October 13, 1972||Jacques Fauteux||Ontario Place Cinesphere, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||Wedding in White|
|25th Canadian Film Awards||October 12, 1973||Press conference, no formal ceremony||Chevalier Theatre, Montreal, Quebec||None awarded||Slipstream|
|No Ceremony in 1974||The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz|
|26th Canadian Film Awards||October 12, 1975||Peter Gzowski||Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario||Les Ordres||Les Ordres|
|27th Canadian Film Awards||October 21, 1976||Lorne Greene||CFTO-TV Studios, Scarborough, Ontario||None awarded||Lies My Father Told Me|
|28th Canadian Film Awards||November 20, 1977||Gordon Pinsent||Hilton Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||J.A. Martin photographe|
|29th Canadian Film Awards||September 21, 1978||John Candy, Catherine O'Hara||Ryerson Theatre, Toronto, Ontario||None awarded||The Silent Partner|
|Genie Awards from 1980|
|Ceremony||Date||Host(s)||Venue||Film of the Year||Feature Film (1964–78)|
- Townend, Paul. "Canadian Film Awards". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "The Genie Awards". Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Moving with the movies". The Globe and Mail, June 17, 1957.
- "Coffee-table Genie-alogy took some reel sleuthing". The Globe and Mail, March 21, 1985.
- "Canadian Film Awards copes with string of crises". The Globe and Mail, September 28, 1970.
- "Rebirth of the film awards". The Globe and Mail, October 2, 1975.
- "The stinkers of '73". The Globe and Mail, December 29, 1973.
- "Canadian 'Oscar' show new group's first aim". The Globe and Mail, April 12, 1979.
- "Sorel Etrog's link to his past". The Globe and Mail, December 7, 1996.
- Topalovich, Maria; Sheffer, Andra (1984). A pictorial history of Canadian film awards. Don Mills, Ontario: Stoddart. ISBN 0-7737-2036-7.