Monsieur Lazhar wins Genie for Best Film

Monsieur Lazhar's Genie winners Philippe Falardeau and Sophie Nelisse at an event earlier this year.
Well, we can’t accuse the Oscars of being predictable. As I said in my predictions post, we pretty much knew what to expect from this year’s Genie ceremony. In this case, however, I don’t think predictability is a bad thing, simply because it shows that people are finally talking more about Canadian films, more people are seeing them (or some of them, anyways), and more people are acknowledging that there is something of value in seeing our own stars and stories onscreen. As George Stroumbouloupous said during his introduction, “It’s Canada’s time to reclaim French films at the Oscars… did you really think The Artist was ‘French’?” As expected, the big Canadian film story of 2011, Monsieur Lazhar, was the big winner. The sweet little drama, which is really putting Quebec film on the map after being Canada’s second consecutive Oscar nominee/Genie winner after Incendies, won 6 Genies including Best Picture; Best Director for Philippe Falardeau, who gave a nice speech on the importance of personal filmmaking in Canada; Best Actor for Fellag; and Best Supporting Actress for young Sophie Nelisse, who pulled one of the night’s biggest surprises.

I thought that Café de Flore’s Hélène Florent would win the award. She should have, but alas. Café de Flore did manage a win in the Best Lead Actress category, however, for Vanessa Paradis. Paradis is certainly worthy for her excellent performance, although I’m honestly a disappointed that Rachel Weisz didn’t win instead, especially since that meant that my favourite Canadian film of the year, The Whistleblower, went home empty handed. Weisz was robbed. That is all I can say, to be honest.
Viggo Mortensen and A Dangerous Method director David Cronenberg

One actor that has been getting a lot of attention for Canadian films finally got his due, though. Not a Canadian, mind you, but we can surely consider Viggo Mortensen an honorary Canuck after his three rounds with director David Cronenberg. Mortensen was on hand to collect his trophy as Best Supporting Actor for A Dangerous Method and he pulled a fast one on the Toronto audience by unfurling a flag for the Montreal Canadiens and flapping it before the crowd. Mortensen certainly has a good rapport with Canadian audiences. In fact, he pulled a similar gag when I saw him at TIFF in 2009, when he stepped out to introduce The Road in a Habs jersey. Congrats Viggo, and thanks for taking a pay cut to help boost attention for our films!
Overall, it was a good night for our films, even though most of my favourites when home empty handed, although Café de Flore did manage two art/tech wins (for make-up and visual effects). And it was a pretty good night, in hindsight: hardly predictable, as I only managed to guess 10 of the categories… less than I got right for the Oscars! Congrats to all the winners and nominees, and thanks for giving a bit more attention to Canadian films. Hopefully next year will be even bigger and better!

Full list of winners for the 32nd Annual Genie Awards:

Best Film
Monsieur Lazhar - Luc Déry, Kim McCraw

Best Director
Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Vanessa Paradis, Café de Flore

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Fellag, Monsieur Lazhar

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sophie Nélisse, Monsieur Lazhar

Best Original Screenplay
Ken Scott, Martin Petit - Starbuck

Best Adapted Screenplay
Philippe Falardeau - Monsieur Lazhar

Best Art Direction
A Dangerous Method – James McAteer

Best Cinematography
Snow & Ashes – Jean-François Lord

Best Costumes
Funkytown – Marie-Chantalle Vaillancourt

Best Editing
Monsieur Lazhar – Stéphane Lafleur

Best Make-up
Café de Flore – Christiane Fattori, Frédéric Marin

Best Original Score
A Dangerous Method – Howard Shore

Best Original Song
Starbuck – “Quelque part” by Carole Facal

Best Overall Sound
A Dangerous Method – Orest Sushko, Christian Cooke

Best Sound Editing
A Dangerous Method

Best Visual Effects
Café de Flore – Marc Coté, Stéphanie Broussaud, Gary Chuntz, Vincent Dudouet, Cynthia Mourou, Eric Normandin, Martin Pensa, Luc Sanfaçon, Sylain Théroux, Nathalie Tremplay.

Best Feature Length Documentary
La Nuit, Elles Dansent / At Night, They Dance - Isabelle Lavigne, Stéphane Thibault, Lucie Lambert

Best Short Documentary
Sirmilik - Zacharias Kunuk, Joel McConvey, Kristina McLaughlin, Kevin McMahon, Michael McMahon, Geoff Morrison, Ryan J. Noth

Best Live Action Short
Doubles with Slight Pepper - Ian Harnarine

Best Animated Short
Romance- Georges Schwizgebel, René Chénier, Marc Bertrand

Golden Reel Award (Top grosser)

Claude Jutra Award (Outstanding new filmmaker) 
Anne Emond, Nuit #1