Human Cargo, CBC's six-hour drama set against the backdrop of the world's refugee misery and Canada's role in it, has won seven of its 17 Gemini Award nominations, including best TV movie or miniseries.
Brad Turner won best director for the program at the Gemini gala on Monday night, while Brian McKeown and Linda Svendsen won writing awards. Over the weekend at an earlier ceremony, the drama also won for best editing, production design/art direction, music score and supporting actress for Nthathi Moshesh.
Mr. Turner said the lead actor, Bayo Akinfemi, was "the standout in this show."
"He is a refugee from Nigeria and he's become a Canadian citizen and he brought the heart and soul to the character," Turner said.
"It's important to tell Canadian stories but in these days of the United States of Canada and Jesusland, it's also important to look at stories about Canada and the world," said Ms. Svendsen.
Best actor and actress prizes went to Brent Carver and Diane D'Aquila for Elizabeth Rex, Rhombus Media's take on Elizabeth I's conflict between being a woman and being Queen. It aired on the Bravo specialty channel.
The best dramatic series was CBC's durable crime drama Da Vinci's Inquest while best comedy program went to Showcase's irreverent hosers, the Trailer Park Boys, knocking off one of domestic TV's biggest sitcom hits in ages, CTV's Corner Gas.
The prize for best individual performance in a comedy show was presented to Gavin Crawford for his contribution to CBC's Thi s Hour Has 22 Minutes while best comedy show ensemble performance was given to the cast of CBC's dearly departed TV industry satire, Made in Canada.
"The last couple of years I always lost to somebody from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which I guess technically, I did again. But I'm glad it's me," said Mr. Crawford, who had also been nominated for his own program The Gavin Crawford Show.
Paul Gross was named best actor in a continuing dramatic role for his performance as a Shakespearean actor and director in the pay-cable series Slings & Arrows, while Catherine Disher won best series actress as a feisty federal cabinet minister in the short-lived CBC political series Snakes & Ladders.
"Does it come with a job?" Ms. Disher quipped as she accepted the trophy.
Prior to the gala telecast, writer-producer Wayne Grigsby still held out hope that his cancelled series might get a reprise on CBC. He said a good series has to be given time to grow, and it can't just be thrown against a wall to see if it sticks.
Backstage after accepting her award, Ms. Disher was asked about the show and why people are so fascinated with politics.
"Because in this day and age, it's high drama and it's reality TV squared," she said.
Mr. Grigsby didn't write the show "based on Sheila Copps or Carolyn Parrish or anybody," she added. "He wrote it out of his vast knowledge of political trivia about five years ago and it just so happens that things came to pass just the way that he thought it would."
Shattered City, CBC's miniseries about the Halifax explosion, won a total of six Geminis this year, while CBC News racked up 11 trophies in all, including best anchor for Peter Mansbridge.
The producers of this year's CBC telecast went for something different Monday night: no host. Instead various personalities were scheduled to handle the emcee chores, including Ben Mulroney, Brent Butt, Nicholas Campbell, Sonja Smits and hockey hosts Don Cherry and Ron MacLean.
The Donald Brittain award for best social/political documentary went to Allan King's Dying at Grace, a powerful but grim film about terminally ill patients at Toronto's Grace hospital.
Mr. MacLean was named best sports host or interviewer for Hockey Day in Canada.
In addition to the Corner Gas shutout, CTV's The Eleventh Hour, a big winner last year, came away from the three gala nights with only two awards, as did Degrassi: The Next Generation.
The Geminis, honouring the finest in home-grown TV production, are overseen by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
The Gemini Winners
TV Movie or Dramatic Mini-Series: Human Cargo
Dramatic Series: Da Vinci's Inquest
Comedy Program or Series: Trailer Park Boys
Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program: Dying At Grace
Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series: Brad Turner - Human Cargo
Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series: Brian McKeown, Linda Svendsen - Human Cargo
Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series: Brent Carver - Elizabeth Rex
Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series: Diane D'Aquila - Elizabeth Rex
Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role: Paul Gross - Slings & Arrows
Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role: Catherine Disher - Snakes & Ladders
Individual Performance in a Comedy Program or Series: Gavin Crawford - This Hour Has 22 Minutes - Episode Four
Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series: Rick Mercer, Peter Keleghan, Dan Lett, Leah Pinsent, Jackie Torrens - Made In Canada - The Last Show
News Anchor: Peter Mansbridge, CBC News: The National - Kabul Afghanistan/Liberal Leadership Convention/Ottawa
Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast: Ron MacLean - Hockey Day in Canada