1st Genie Awards

The 1st Genie Awards were presented on March 20, 1980, and honoured films released in 1979.[1] They were given out at a gala event at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto with Bruno Gerussi as host.[1] Awards for non-feature films were presented at a luncheon the day before the gala.[2]

1st Genie Awards
DateMarch 20, 1980
SiteRoyal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto
Hosted byBruno Gerussi
Best PictureThe Changeling
Most nominationsThe Changeling

The 1980 ceremonies were the first time the awards were presented as the Genie Awards instead of the Canadian Film Awards, and the first time they were presented by the newly organized Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.[3]


The show was broadcast on CBC Television, and noted for its Oscars-like production design, with production numbers including a jazz dance performance by Jeff Hyslop and Karen Kain set to the tune of "Dancing in the Dark", and female impersonator Craig Russell in character as Judy Garland.[4]

The show was not without controversy. Award winner Christopher Plummer used his speech to criticize the distinction made between Canadian and foreign actors, calling on the Academy to treat "Canadian or Samothracian" actors equally.[1] The fact that no French language films won any major awards was also a source of controversy.[1] In addition, despite having duly released three nominations in the category of Editing in a Dramatic Film (Non-Feature), the jury used the moment of presentation to announce that they had deemed none of the three worthy of an award.[2] Producer Sam Levene, in his acceptance speech for another award, called the decision an "arrogant slap in the face" to the nominees.[2]

Several awards were presented in specialized categories which were carried over from the structure of the Canadian Film Awards, but were not retained in future years.

Award winners and nominees

Motion Picture Direction
Actor in a leading role Actress in a leading role
Actor in a supporting role Actress in a supporting role
Foreign Actor Foreign Actress
Actor (Non-Feature) Actress (Non-Feature)
Original Screenplay Adapted Screenplay
Outstanding Independent Film Theatrical Short
Art Direction and Production Design Art Direction (Non-Feature)
Direction in a Dramatic Film (Non-Feature) Direction in a Documentary (Non-Feature)
Outstanding Screenplay (Non-Feature) Non-Dramatic Script
Outstanding TV Drama Over 30 Minutes Outstanding TV Drama Under 30 Minutes
Outstanding Documentary - 30 Minutes and Over Outstanding Documentary - 30 Minutes and Under
  • Mark Dolgoy, Priory: The Only Home I've Got
  • Marilyn Belec, Taking Chances
  • Claire Prieto, It's Not an Illness
Costume Design Cinematography
Cinematography in a Dramatic Film (Non-Feature) Cinematography in a Documentary (Non-Feature)
Animation Sound Editing
Sound Sound (Non-Feature)
  • Tony Van den Akker, Al Caruso, Andy Malcolm and Terry Burke, Track Stars: The Unseen Heroes of Movie Sound
  • Hans Oomes and Bernard Bordeleau, Paperland: The Bureaucrat Observed
  • Alex Taylor, Michael Lax and Austin Grimaldi, Dieppe 1942
Editing Editing (Non-Feature)
Musical Score Musical Score (Non-Feature)
Editing in a Dramatic Film (Non-Feature) Special Awards


  1. Jay Scott, "Changeling wins Genie as year's best movie". The Globe and Mail, March 21, 1980.
  2. Rick Groen, "NFB, Brittain dominate TV Genie awards". The Globe and Mail, March 20, 1980.
  3. Jay Scott, "Changeling leads Canadian Film Award nominees". The Globe and Mail, February 8, 1980.
  4. Meg Floyd, "Jazzing up the Genies". The Globe and Mail, March 15, 1980.
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