As expected, the Genies went crazy for C.R.A.Z.Y.
Montreal director Jean-Marc Vallee's poignant but funny tale of growing up in Catholic Quebec from the 1960s to the '80s won 10 awards Monday - including best picture - plus the Golden Reel Award given to the Canadian film with the biggest annual box office take.
"I'm touched," Vallee said, in accepting the best director award. "This has been something - a crazy experience."
Paul Gratton, chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, called it "a gay coming-of-age story that's been given a different and totally delightful original spin based on style and the use of pop music."
The Academy oversees the Genies, which honour the best in home-grown cinema.
C.R.A.Z.Y., the third feature from Vallee, was Canada's unsuccessful submission this year for a best foreign film Oscar nomination.
It also won Genies for best director, editing (Paul Jutras), actor (Michel Cote), supporting actress (Danielle Proulx), original screenplay (Vallee and Francois Boulay), art direction/production design, costume design, sound and sound editing.
A distant runner-up with three Genies was Water, the third in Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's elements trilogy. It won for cinematography, original music score and best actress (Seema Biswas).
Best supporting actor was Denis Bernard for L'Audition.
Atom Egoyan's showbiz scandal drama Where the Truth Lies won for Egoyan's own adapted screenplay.
In a pre-recorded acceptance speech, Egoyan held up some pages that he said were rewrites and that he could have made it better.
Velcrow Ripper's ScaredSacred won best documentary, while David Ostry's Milo 55160 was named best live action short. Best animated short was Chris Hinton's CNote.
Louse Archambault's Familia, a Quebec film that had been nominated in the best picture category, had to settle for the Claude Jutra Award, given annually to the most promising first-time director.
Francophone cinema dominated the awards last year as well, with The Triplets of Belleville (a Canada-France co-production), Ma vie en cinemascope and Looking for Alexander the big winners. The year before that it was Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions and Seducing Dr. Lewis.
While Quebec films do well in Quebec - C.R.A.Z.Y. netted some $5-million in ticket sales - their success is seldom repeated elsewhere in the country.
Maria Topalovich, president and CEO of the Genie Academy, concedes it's difficult to promote Canadian cinema when we live next door to the largest entertainment machine in the world. But she says the Genies raise awareness of the great film talent that Canada enjoys.
"They're recognized internationally as our national film awards. They're premier awards for recognizing excellence."
CHUM's channels Citytv, Bravo and Star decided not to broadcast the evening award presentations live but instead opted for a one-hour After-Party Special, from 9 to 10 p.m. ET, showcasing highlights mixed with interviews with the winners in a nightclub-style setting.
CHUM made the decision after last year's awards ceremony in which winners made acceptance speeches in French only. That didn't make for the best English-language television, explained Marcia Martin, production vice-president for CHUM.
Like their TV counterparts the Geminis, the Genies are overseen by the Academy, a national non-profit association that was created in 1979 and represents more than 4,000 industry professionals across the country.