Thriller ‘Night Raiders,’ CBC comedy ‘Sort Of’ lead Canadian Screen Award nominations


Published February 15, 2022 at 7:04 am

TORONTO — A topical Indigenous thriller and a groundbreaking sitcom about a gender-fluid millennial lead the nominees for this year’s Canadian Screen Awards. 

The dystopian, Indigenous-led film “Night Raiders” and suburban drama “Scarborough” top the film categories with 11 nominations each, and compete in the best film category against “Drunken Birds,” “Night of the Kings” and “Wildhood.”

Meanwhile, CBC’s freshman series “Sort Of” leads the television categories with 13 nominations, including best TV comedy and writing for star, co-creator and co-writer Bilal Baig, billed as the first queer, trans-feminine, South Asian Muslim to lead a Canadian prime time television series.

The series revolves around Baig’s Sabi, a gender-fluid Torontonian attempting to find their place in love, life and career, while straddling their Pakistani roots and Canadian upbringing.

Other contenders for best TV comedy include CTV’s “Jann,” Crave’s “Letterkenny” and CBC’s “Strays” and “Kim’s Convenience,” the latter of which scored 10 nominations for its fifth and final season, including for stars Simu Liu, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Andrea Bang and Jean Yoon. 

The accolades land nearly one year after the family comedy wrapped earlier than expected, with co-creators Ins Choi and Kevin White announcing they were moving on to pursue other projects. 

The Canadian Screen Awards, administered by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, celebrate the best in homegrown film, television and digital media. 

The pandemic forced the gala online in each of the past two years, but organizers say the bash will return to CBC and CBC Gem with an hour-long pre-taped show April 10, featuring sketch comedy troupe TallBoyz.

The bulk of the awards will be handed out in nine separate virtual shows leading up to the televised event during Canadian Screen Week, April 4 to April 8.

“Night Raiders” follows a mother who joins a group of vigilantes and risks her life to rescue her daughter, who has been placed in a state-run school.

Cree-Métis director Danis Goulet earned writing and directing nominations for the feature debut, while stars Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Gail Maurice snagged best actress and best supporting actress nods, respectively.

“Scarborough,” adapted by Catherine Hernandez from her own novel of the same name, was directed by Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson, and is also up for best direction and best adapted screenplay. It tells the story of three children living and finding community in the Toronto suburb.

Another book-to-screen adaptation, the family drama “All My Puny Sorrows,” based on Manitoba author Miriam Toews’ 2014 novel, scored eight nominations.

Written and directed by Toronto’s Michael McGowan, it’s one of the starrier films in the running, starring actresses Alison Pill, Sarah Gadon and Mare Winningham.

Leading television nominees include CBC’s “Pretty Hard Cases” and Space’s “Wynonna Earp” with 11 nods each, and CBC’s “Coroner” with 10. “Coroner” is up for best TV drama against CBC’s “Moonshine,” Super Channel’s “The North Water,” CTV’s “Transplant” and History’s “Vikings.”

The annual bash will hand out trophies in 145 categories for film, television, and digital media, in genres ranging from kids programming to reality series to top news anchor. Another nine awards celebrate special and fan choice winners.

Nominees for best host or interviewer, news, include: Adrienne Arsenault and Ian Hanomansing of “CBC News: The National,” Sandie Rinaldo of CTV’s “W5: Stacked Odds” and Avery Haine of CTV’s “W5: A Town Divided.”

Meanwhile, best host, factual or reality/competition nominees include Ron MacLean for CBC’s “Battle of the Blades;” Arisa Cox for Global’s “Big Brother Canada;” Brooke Lynn Hytes, Traci Melchor, Amanda Brugel and Brad Goreski for Crave’s “Canada’s Drag Race;” Gerry Dee for CBC’s “Family Feud Canada” and Alan Shane Lewis and Ann Pornel for CBC’s “The Great Canadian Baking Show.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2022.

Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press

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