Canada's annual film awards will be a battle of the generations this year, as Xavier Dolan's critical darling Mommy faces off against David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars at the Canadian Screen Awards.
Mommy, with 13 nominations, will go up against Maps to the Stars, with 11, for best motion picture (feature), as well as best direction, best screenplay, and honours in a host of other categories.
Both films premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival, where Dolan, 25, became Canada's youngest filmmaker to compete in the main program, and Cronenberg, 71, became Canada's oldest filmmaker to do so. Dolan won the Jury Prize at Cannes, but his dream of taking home an Academy Award was dashed last month when Mommy, which Canada tapped as its best hope for a foreign-language film Oscar, failed to make the short list. Dolan is personally up for five Canadian Screen Awards, including editing and costume design.
The other films up for best feature are Albert Shin's In Her Place, Stéphane Lafleur's Tu dors Nicole, Terrance Odette's Fall, and Christian Sparkes's Cast No Shadow.
Best documentary nominees are Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame, Super Duper Alice Cooper, La marche à suivre, and Fermières.
The Canadian Screen Awards were born in 2013 with the merger of the Genies, Canada's film awards, and the English-language TV Gemini Awards. The CSAs also honour digital media.
The move is an attempt by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television to bring together the red carpet glamour of feature films and the populist appeal of TV: particularly important in a country where domestic films represent a tiny percentage of the overall box office and TV shows rarely make it into the weekly Top 30 viewing chart.
Canadian cable channels are the dominant creative force, with Space's sci-fi hit Orphan Black picking up 13 nominations, Bravo's English-language adaptation of the Quebec police drama 19-2 collaring 10 nominations, and the Jason Priestley comedy Call Me Fitz, which airs on TMN and Movie Central, also snagging 10 nominations. CBC's Mr. D also has 10 nominations.
Orphan Black and 19-2 will go up against Continuum (Showcase), Motive (CTV) and Remedy (Global) for best dramatic series. Best comedy series will pit Mr. D against CTV's Spun Out and Seed, which City cancelled last summer after only two seasons. The category also features Tiny Plastic Men, a sketch comedy show on Super Channel which, oddly, is not in the running in the sketch comedy category.
The reality-show contest features three Canadian versions of American hits – The Amazing Race Canada (CTV), Big Brother Canada (Global) and MasterChef Canada (CTV) – going up against Unusually Thicke, a so-called "reality-sitcom hybrid" starring Alan Thicke, and Sportsnet 360's The Ultimate Fighter Nations – Canada vs. Australia.
CBC's flagship newscast The National has nine nominations, far out in front of its competitors, CTV National News and Global National, which each have two.
Nominations for the CSAs were announced in 128 categories – 24 film, 97 TV, and seven digital media – during simultaneous news conferences held in Montreal and Toronto.
"2014 was an exceptionally competitive year for Canadian film, television & digital media," said Helga Stephenson, CEO of the Academy, in a statement. "The Academy received a record number of Canadian Screen Awards submissions, which is also a good sign for the industry."
Actress Andrea Martin will host the Canadian Screen Awards on CBC, airing live from Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on March 1.