Canadian Screen Awards

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Canadian Screen Awards
Current: 12th Canadian Screen Awards
Awarded forArtistic and technical merit in the Canadian film industry, recognizing excellence in film, television and digital media
Presented byAcademy of Canadian Cinema & Television
First awarded2013 as a merger of the former Genie Awards for film and Gemini Awards for television

The Canadian Screen Awards (French: Les prix Écrans canadiens) are awards given for artistic and technical merit in the film industry recognizing excellence in Canadian film, English-language television, and digital media (web series) productions.[1] Given annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the awards recognize excellence in cinematic achievements, as assessed by the Academy's voting membership.

The awards were first presented in 2013 as the result of a merger of the Gemini Awards and Genie Awards—the Academy's previous awards presentations for television (English-language) and film productions.[2] They are widely considered to be the most prestigious award for Canadian entertainers, artists, and filmmakers, often referred to as the equivalent of the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards in the United States, the BAFTA Awards in the United Kingdom, the AACTA Awards in Australia, the IFTA Awards in Ireland, the César Awards in France and the Goya Awards in Spain.[3][4][5][6][7]


The award's historic roots stem from the Canadian Film Awards, which were presented for film from 1949 to 1978, and the ACTRA Awards, which were presented for television from 1972 to 1986. The Academy took over the CFAs in 1978 to create the new Genie Awards, and took over the ACTRAs in 1986 to create the Gemini Awards. The Academy additionally created the Bijou Awards in 1981 as a new home for CFA specialty categories, such as television films, that had not been retained by the Genie Awards, but presented them only once before discontinuing that program.

In April 2012, the Academy announced that it would merge the Geminis and the Genies into a new awards show that would better recognize Canadian accomplishments in film, television, and digital media.[8] On 4 September 2012, the Academy announced that the new ceremony would be known as the Canadian Screen Awards, reflecting the multi-platform nature of the presentation's expanded scope and how Canadians consume media content.[9] The inaugural ceremony, hosted by comedian Martin Short and broadcast by CBC Television, took place on 3 March 2013.[10][11]

Due to the number of awards presented, many of the less prominent awards are presented at a series of untelevised galas during Canadian Screen Week, the week leading up to the televised ceremonies. On the night of the main gala, the ceremony also starts approximately two hours earlier than the telecast, with additional awards being presented whose winners are recognized in short montages during the main ceremony, and only the most important film and television categories are presented during the live broadcast.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Screen Awards did not hold an in-person presentation between 2020 and 2022. All ceremonies were held as virtual events beginning with the 8th Canadian Screen Awards, with the non-televised galas replaced by streaming presentations during Canadian Screen Week, with no television broadcast.[12][13][14] The 10th Canadian Screen Awards were originally scheduled to be held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, but due to Omicron variant and restrictions being reimplemented in the province of Ontario,[15] the presentation was once again held as a virtual event. A television presentation returned, with winners in top categories announced during an hour-long, pre-recorded special on CBC Television hosted by TallBoyz.[16][15]

While in-person presentations were reinstated for 2023, the broadcast on CBC Television remained a pre-recorded special featuring highlights from the non-televised galas, linked by host Samantha Bee, rather than a live event.[17]

In August 2022, the Academy announced that it would discontinue its past practice of presenting gendered awards for film and television actors and actresses; beginning with the 11th Canadian Screen Awards in 2023, gender-neutral awards for Best Performance will be presented, with eight nominees per category instead of five.[18] In 2023, the Academy announced further changes for the 12th Canadian Screen Awards, instituting a new genre separation for best leading and supporting performances in drama and comedy films, and introducing a new category for best performance in a live action short film. No change was introduced in television acting categories, which already feature a genre separation for drama and comedy.

In 2024, the film BlackBerry, which documented the rise and fall of the BlackBerry phone, broke the record for the most nominations for a film in the history of the Canadian Screen Awards, with 17 nominations.[19]


As of 2023, the Academy has not announced any official nickname, such as "Oscar" for the Academy Awards.[2] Many Canadian television and film critics and others have suggested potential nicknames, including the straightforward abbreviation "Screenies";[2] tributes to film and television legends including "Candys" in memory of actor John Candy,[20] "Pickfords" in honour of actress Mary Pickford and "Normans" in honour of director Norman Jewison;[20] "Angels" as a descriptive reference to the trophy's "wings";[21] and "Gemininies" as a portmanteau of the awards' former names.[2]

The Academy invited suggestions from viewers via social media, with CEO Helga Stephenson suggesting that the board would consider the suggestions and potentially announce a naming choice in time for the 2014 ceremony.[20] No formal nickname was announced at the time; numerous media outlets settled on the informal "Screenies".[22][23]

At the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016, host Norm Macdonald called in his opening monologue for the awards to be named the Candys;[24] several presenters and winners followed his lead throughout the evening, referring to the award as "The Candy" in their presentation announcements or acceptance speeches, and John Candy's former SCTV colleagues Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara both endorsed Macdonald's proposal in the press room.[25] Macdonald had not sought input from the Academy itself prior to his monologue, although he ran the idea past the ceremony's broadcast producer Barry Avrich.[21] At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017, host Howie Mandel made a recurring joke of suggesting that they be nicknamed "STDs" (an abbreviation of "screen, television, and digital", but a double entendre of another use of the abbreviation).[26] The show is currently commonly known as the CSAs.[27]


To be eligible for nominations, a title must be either a Canadian production or co-production; international film or television projects shot in Canada without direct Canadian production involvement are not eligible. Canadians cannot receive nominations for working on foreign productions that were not otherwise eligible for CSA consideration, but foreign nationals may be nominated for work on eligible Canadian films.

A feature film must have received at least one full week of commercial theatrical screenings in at least two of the Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saskatoon, St. John's, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and/or Winnipeg markets between 1 January of the qualifying year and the date of the awards ceremony in the presentation year. A film may be submitted and even nominated before it has fully met these criteria, so long as it can provide satisfactory proof that the criteria will be fulfilled by the date of the ceremony.

Film festival screenings are not directly relevant to the inclusion criteria for feature films; as long as it meets the commercial screening criteria, a film may in fact have had its initial film festival premiere up to 1.5 years earlier than 1 January of the qualifying year. Although due to the more periodic nature of Canadian film distribution it may be possible for a film to meet the qualifying criteria in more than one separate year, a film may not be resubmitted to the awards committee more than once. The eligibility criteria for feature films have sometimes faced criticism from some independent film producers, however, as they effectively excluded films which pursue distribution strategies more strongly based on streaming media platforms such as Netflix or Crave from consideration in film categories — unlike the Academy Awards, where the eligibility rules permit films from streaming services.[28] Despite this conflict, films which premiered theatrically, but did not surpass the theatrical screening criteria and thus were never submitted in film categories before being released on a television or streaming platform, are eligible to receive nominations in the television categories; as well, the more flexible eligibility criteria noted below, which were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the disruptions that it caused to film distribution, remain in place as of 2024 despite the reopening of movie theatres, and thus now permit some films distributed on streaming platforms to enter film categories.

Under certain circumstances, it may also be possible for a film to be nominated in both film and television categories. For example, the 2020 documentary film One of Ours was a nominee for Best Feature Length Documentary at the 10th Canadian Screen Awards in 2022 due to its theatrical run; however, as the Academy does not present awards for best direction or best writing in theatrical documentary films, but does present awards for best direction and writing in television documentaries, its television broadcast later in the year earned Yasmine Mathurin nominations in the television categories at the same ceremony.[29] However, a film cannot be considered in both film and television categories that directly duplicate each other; for instance, a film cannot be considered for both Best Picture and Best TV Movie.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on theatrical film distribution in 2020, special rules for the 9th Canadian Screen Awards permitted films that were commercially screened on an Academy-approved list of video on demand platforms after having been planned for conventional theatrical distribution, as well as films that were screened online as part of any Canadian film festival that proceeded virtually in 2020;[30] as well, the number of commercial theatrical screenings required for eligibility was temporarily reduced to just four screenings in one of the regular markets. Other new changes at the 9th ceremony included the renaming of the Overall Sound category to Sound Mixing, and the introduction of a new category for Best Casting in films.

Feature documentaries are eligible if they have received three commercial theatrical screenings anywhere in Canada within the same time period as narrative features, or if they have screened at two qualifying film festivals within the calendar year. Animated short films are eligible if they have received one commercial theatrical screening anywhere in Canada, or have been screened at two qualifying festivals, within the calendar year; live action short films are eligible if they have received one commercial theatrical screening anywhere in Canada, or have been screened at three qualifying festivals, within the calendar year. Documentary and short films are also automatically deemed eligible for nomination if they have won an award at an eligible Canadian or international film festival within the qualifying period, even if they have not fully met the Canadian screening criteria.

For television categories, the qualifying period corresponds more closely to the traditional television season than the calendar year, beginning 1 September of the second year before the ceremony and ending, depending on the category, either 31 August or 15 November of the year before the ceremony. An ongoing television series whose season straddles the cutoff date for its category is still eligible if it has aired at least one-third of its episodes within the eligibility period; if it does not meet that test, then it must wait until the following year.

Awards ceremonies[edit]

Ceremony Date Best Motion Picture Best Dramatic Series Best Comedy Series Host Location Broadcaster
1st 3 March 2013 War Witch (Rebelle) Flashpoint Less Than Kind Martin Short Sony Centre for the Performing Arts CBC
2nd 9 March 2014 Gabrielle Orphan Black Call Me Fitz
3rd 1 March 2015 Mommy Andrea Martin Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
4th 13 March 2016 Room 19–2 Schitt's Creek Norm Macdonald Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
5th 12 March 2017 It's Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) Orphan Black Letterkenny Howie Mandel
6th 11 March 2018 Maudie Anne with an E Kim's Convenience Jonny Harris & Emma Hunter
7th 31 March 2019 A Colony (Une colonie) Schitt's Creek No host
8th 25–28 May 2020 Antigone Cardinal various[31] Ceremonies cancelled; awards presented via virtual event.
9th 17–20 May 2021 Beans Transplant various
10th 10 April 2022 Scarborough Sort Of TallBoyz Ceremonies cancelled; awards presented via virtual event and television special. CBC
11th 16 April 2023 Brother The Porter Samantha Bee Meridian Hall
12th 31 May 2024 TBA Mae Martin Canadian Broadcasting Centre

Awards categories[edit]

The Canadian Screen Awards has roughly 130 categories in total. There are 30 film categories, 100 television categories, and 10 digital media categories. As with the Genie Awards, all Canadian films, regardless of language, are eligible to receive awards in the film categories. However, as with the Gemini Awards, only English-language productions are eligible for television categories: the Academy continues to hold the Prix Gémeaux, a separate ceremony honouring French-language television productions.[8]


Defunct categories:


Digital media[edit]

  • Best Cross-Platform Project – Children's and Youth
  • Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction
  • Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction
  • Best Immersive Experience
  • Best Original Interactive Production Produced for Digital Media
  • Best Original Program or Series Produced for Digital Media – Fiction
  • Best Original Program or Series Produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction
  • Best Direction in a Program or Series Produced for Digital Media
  • Best Actor in a Program or Series Produced for Digital Media
  • Best Actress in a Program or Series Produced for Digital Media
  • Social Innovator Award

Special categories[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "L'Académie lance les nouveaux prix Écrans canadiens" (Press release). L'Académie canadienne du cinéma et de la télévision. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Powell, W. Andrew (2 March 2013). "Goodbye Genies and Geminis, hello Canadian Screen Awards". The GATE. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  3. ^ Houpt, Simon (2 March 2015). "Canadian Screen Awards highlights: little suspense, but lots of fun". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  4. ^ Latta, D.K. (28 February 2013). "Controversy and The Canadian Screen Awards". HuffPost. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Canadian Crossing: American and British stars clean up at the Genies, Canada's 'Oscars'". Canadian Crossing. Balance of Food. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  6. ^ Shatner, William; Regan, Chris (4 October 2011). Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large. Penguin. ISBN 9781101547984.
  7. ^ "Canada's female directors eye Oscar race". CTVNews. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Canada's Genie, Gemini Awards to merge". CBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Canadian Academy unveils Canadian Screen Awards". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards to replace Genies, Geminis". CBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Martin Short makes Canadian Screen Awards a night to remember". Toronto Star. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards Canceled Amid Coronavirus Pandemic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Canadian Screen Award winners to reveal 2020 winners in virtual presentations". 5 May 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  14. ^ Jonathan Szekeres, "Canadian Screen Awards go virtual — again". CKWX, March 27, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Ahearn, Victoria (7 February 2022). "Canadian Screen Awards pivot to virtual and pre-recorded events amid Omicron wave". Playback Online. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  16. ^ Barry Hertz, "2022 Canadian Screen Awards go virtual again, but with CBC back onboard". The Globe and Mail, February 7, 2022.
  17. ^ "Actors questioning Canadian Screen Awards move to pre-taped format". CBC News, February 21, 2023.
  18. ^ Joseph Pugh, "Canadian Screen Awards switching to gender-neutral performance categories". CBC News, August 25, 2022.
  19. ^ "Matt Johnson's BlackBerry breaks Canadian Screen Awards record with 17 nominations". The Globe and Mail. 6 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  20. ^ a b c Howell, Peter (4 March 2013). "Canadian Screen Awards nickname the 'Candys' gains traction". Toronto Star.
  21. ^ a b Howell, Peter (14 March 2016). "Chair of Canadian film/TV academy is sweet on calling awards 'the Candys'". Toronto Star.
  22. ^ Wilner, Norman (13 January 2015). "The Screenies Are Upon Us!". Now.
  23. ^ "Canada's Screenie nominations announced". Winnipeg Free Press, 14 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Room takes Best Film at Canadian Screen Awards". 13 March 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  25. ^ "'The Candy' gains traction as nickname for the Canadian Screen Awards". CTV News, 14 March 2016.
  26. ^ Taylor, Kate (13 March 2017). "Lurching from boring to weird, Canadian Screen Awards did produce notable moments". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  27. ^ Jackson Weaver, "The National, The Accountant of Auschwitz lead first night of Canadian Screen Awards". CBC News, May 25, 2020.
  28. ^ Eric Vollmers, "Calgary producer calls on Academy of Film and Television to loosen eligibility rules for Canadian Screen Awards". Calgary Herald, January 13, 2020.
  29. ^ Brent Furdyk, "2022 Canadian Screen Award Nominees Announced, 'Sort Of' & 'Scarborough' Lead The Pack". ET Canada, February 15, 2022.
  30. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards: Eligible Festivals and Online Platforms". Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
  31. ^ "Virtual Presentations, Hosts". Retrieved 15 June 2020.

External links[edit]