Two of Canada's best-loved actors, Maury Chaykin and Tracy Wright, received posthumous acting honours Friday night from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists for their outstanding performances last year in Less Than Kind and Trigger, respectively.
The writer-director-actor Don McKellar accepted the award on his late wife's behalf, while Chaykin's widow, Susannah Hoffmann, took to the stage to receive his prize at the 9th annual ACTRA awards ceremony in Toronto.
Chaykin died last July at the age of 61 after a long battle with kidney disease. He has a slew of film and television credits, including Dances with Wolves and The Sweet Hereafter. Chaykin was most recently seen on the big screen in Casino Jack and Barney's Version.
Wright died last June at the age of 50 of pancreatic cancer. A talent who preferred to stay under the radar, she nailed offbeat roles in Monkey Warfare, one of several films she made with McKellar, and on the stage in Daniel MacIvor's A Beautiful View.
Her performance in Bruce McDonald's Trigger was her last. The film was pushed into production - and bankrolled by friends such as McDonald and producers Jennifer Jonas and Leonard Farlinger - as a final tribute to Wright's tenacity and talent.
Heather Allin, president of ACTRA Toronto, said 2010 was a "year marked by the death of many talented performers still in the prime of their careers." Describing Chaykin and Wright as "two highly original performers," she added "their work in these roles lives on, together with their many other memorable performances, now a permanent part of Canadian screen history."
Wright shares the best female performer prize with her Trigger co-star Molly Parker.
In other categories, Sean Cullen won outstanding performance (voice) for his work in the Canadian-made animated kids' show, Jimmy Two-Shoes, in which he plays the evil Lucius.
Veteran film and TV star Fiona Reid, a member of the Order of Canada who has appeared in the King of Kensington and the indie hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, received ACTRA Toronto's 2011 Award of Excellence from Eric Peterson.