The Canadian Screen Awards have been positioned as this country’s version of the Golden Globes – albeit without quite the same level of Hollywood glitz and blinding star wattage.
But the annual bash does attract its fair share of Canadian luminaries, and this year even includes some Oscar contenders.
The Canada-Ireland co-production “Room” and Canada-UK-Ireland co-production “Brooklyn” are among the films seeking the best picture prize, while beloved comedy veterans Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara chase acting prizes for their sitcom “Schitt’s Creek,” the leading TV nominee.
Here’s a look at five things to know about the Canadian Screen Awards, which celebrate the best in homegrown film, television and digital media on Sunday:
Canadian Oscar nominees left the L.A. bash largely empty-handed, despite a slew of nominations for work on films including “The Revenant,” “The Martian,” “Spotlight” and “Room.” But some talent involved with the Toronto-shot “Room” are well-positioned to triumph at the Canadian Screen Awards: London, Ont.-based novelist Emma Donoghue seems destined for a best adapted screenplay prize, and nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay – who was a presenter at the Oscars – could get the best actor nod.
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American Oscar-winner Brie Larson also seems a lock for a best actress award, while Dublin-bred Lenny Abrahamson is a strong contender for best director.
The best picture category is a crowded race: the Oscar-nominated “Brooklyn,” partly shot in Montreal and featuring several Canadian secondary players, battles “Room,” “Corbo,” “The Demons,” “Felix and Meira,” “The Forbidden Room,” “My Internship in Canada,” “Our Loved Ones,” “Remember” and “Sleeping Giant.”
And the cutest nominee is: Tremblay
The Vancouver native has undeniably emerged as the breakout Canuck star of the awards season, proving remarkably adept at providing red carpet quips and adorable paparazzi poses.
Just check out the aww-inducing YouTube clips of him cracking jokes at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and breaking hearts with his best young actor acceptance speech at the Critics Choice Awards: “Whoa, this is super cool. This is the best day of my life!”
At the Canadian Screen Awards, Tremblay is set to present an award in addition to competing for the best film actor prize – against seasoned rivals that include octogenarian Christopher Plummer.
Tremblay is not the only kid seeking hardware
There’s an abundance of young talent seeking wins for film and television projects this year.
Eighteen-year-old Nick Serino is up for his supporting role in the Canadian indie “Sleeping Giant.” He’ll face competition from designer-turned-actor Waris Ahluwalia of “Beeba Boys,” as well as Tony Nardi of “Corbo,” Irdens Exantus of “My Internship in Canada” and Patrick Hivon of “Ville-Marie.”
Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, 12, already collected a best supporting actress prize for her turn as the young slave Aminata in the CBC miniseries “The Book of Negroes.” The Caledon, Ont., preteen also appears as a regular on the City/Netflix series “Between.”
With Levy, O’Hara and Short all scheduled to appear at the awards, the televised bash is practically screaming out for some sort of “SCTV” reunion.
How about a round of their classic dim-witted trivia game “Half Wits,” with Macdonald trotting out alter ego Turd Ferguson and “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany using her chameleon-like skills for comedy?
With about 20 categories to blow through in two hours, a few laughs would be a welcomed breather from the often dry proceedings and showcase Canuck talent at the same time.
A comic’s comic takes the reins
The bash has traditionally enlisted MCs who have made it big in the United States – past hosts include William Shatner, Martin Short and honorary Canadian Andrea Martin. This year it’s standup star Norm Macdonald, the former “Saturday Night Live” regular known largely for his Burt Reynolds impression on the “SNL” sketch “Celebrity Jeopardy!” and controversial O.J. Simpson jokes on the “Weekend Update” desk.
His appearance at the Canadian Screen Awards could be seen as a bid for an edgier, more unpredictable broadcast. Both good things.