Atom Egoyan's Felicia's Journey won four Genie Awards, including the best actor accolade for Bob Hoskins and best adapted screenplay for Egoyan, at the 20th edition of the Canadian film awards ceremony in Toronto on Sunday night.
Alliance Atlantis' Sunshine, which had 14 nominations, many of them multiple nods in single categories, came away with three prizes including best picture, but director Istvan Szabo was passed over. Indeed, while there was no runaway winner amongst the films, the best director prize saw a remarkable upset: Jeremy Podeswa won for his second feature, The Five Senses, beating out not only the Academy Award-winning Szabo but multiple Genie winner Egoyan as well.
At the post-award press conference Sunshine producer Robert Lantos expressed his disappointment. "It's kind of bizarre that we [Lantos and fellow producer Andras Hamori] are the only ones winning this award, because we didn't make it by ourselves." In all, seven Sunshine acting nominees came away empty-handed including Ralph Fiennes, William Hurt, Jennifer Ehle, Rachel Weisz and Deborah Kara Unger. For his part, Egoyan congratulated Podeswa, saying his victory endorsed Canada's public sector film financing and its development of new talent. "It shows the system works," he said.
French-language title Post Mortem was the principal recipient from Quebec. Writer/director Louis Belanger won for best original screenplay as well as the Claude Jutra Award for direction of a first feature while lead actress Sylvie Moreau took best actress honours. Mark McKinney won best supporting actor for Dog Park while Catherine O'Hara won for supporting actress in The Life Before This. The best feature length documentary prize went to Catherine Annau's Just Watch Me: Trudeau And The '70s Generation.
20TH GENIE AWARDS
Best Motion Picture:
Sunshine - (Robert Lantos, Andras Hamori)
Achievement In Direction:
Jeremy Podeswa - (The Five Senses)
Louis Belanger - (Post Mortem)
Bob Hoskins - (Felicia's Journey)
Sylvie Moreau - (Post Mortem)
Best Supporting Actor:
Mark McKinney - (Dog Park)
Best Supporting Actress:
Catherine O'Hara - (The Life Before This)
Paul Sarossy - (Felicia's Journey)
Ronald Sanders - (eXistenZ)
Francois Seguin - (Souvenirs Intimes)
Renee April - (Grey Owl)
Mychael Danna - (Felicia's Journey)