Canadian Screen Awards

The Canadian Screen Awards (French: Les prix Écrans canadiens) are awards given annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television recognizing excellence in Canadian film, English-language television, and digital media productions.[1] The new 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]

Canadian Screen Awards
7th Canadian Screen Awards
Awarded forBest television, film, and digital media productions in Canada
Presented byAcademy of Canadian Cinema & Television
First awarded2013

They are widely considered to be the most prestigious award for Canadian entertainers, artists, and filmmakers, often referred to as the equivalent of the Oscars and Emmy Awards in the United States, the BAFTA Awards in the United Kingdom, the AACTA Awards in Australia, and the IFTA Awards in Ireland.[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.

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 September 4, 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 March 3, 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 included in short montages during the main ceremony, and only the most important film and television categories are presented during the live broadcast.


To be eligible for nominations, a feature film 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, nor are Canadians working on foreign productions. The 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 January 1 of the qualifying year and the date of the awards ceremony in the presentation year. 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 January 1 of the qualifying year. Although due to the more periodic nature of Canadian film distribution it is technically 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.

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. Even if they have not yet met these criteria, however, documentary and short films are also automatically deemed CSA-eligible if they have won an award at an Academy Award-qualifying international film festival within the qualifying period.

For television categories, the qualifying period corresponds more closely to the traditional television season than the calendar year, beginning September 1 of the second year before the ceremony and ending, depending on the category, either August 31 or November 15 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.


As of 2019, the Academy has not yet announced an official nickname, such as "Oscar" for the Academy Awards.[12] Many Canadian television and film critics and others have suggested potential nicknames, including the straightforward abbreviation "Screenies";[12] tributes to film and television legends including "Candys" in memory of actor John Candy,[13] "Pickfords" in honour of actress Mary Pickford and "Normans" in honour of director Norman Jewison;[13] "Angels" as a descriptive reference to the trophy's "wings";[14] and "Gemininies" as a portmanteau of the awards' former names.[12]

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.[13] No formal nickname was announced at the time; numerous media outlets settled on the informal "Screenies".[15][16]

At the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016, host Norm Macdonald called in his opening monologue for the awards to be named the Candys;[17] 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.[18] 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.[14] At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017, host Howie Mandel offered his own nickname proposal, suggesting that the awards be dubbed the "STDs" to stand for "Screen, Television and Digital", although his suggestion was less positively received.[19]

Awards ceremonies

Ceremony Date Best Motion Picture Best Dramatic Series Best Comedy Series Host Location Broadcaster
1stMarch 3, 2013War Witch (Rebelle)FlashpointLess Than KindMartin ShortSony Centre for the Performing ArtsCBC
2ndMarch 9, 2014GabrielleOrphan BlackCall Me Fitz
3rdMarch 1, 2015MommyAndrea MartinFour Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
4thMarch 13, 2016Room19-2Schitt's CreekNorm MacdonaldSony Centre for the Performing Arts
5thMarch 12, 2017It's Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde)Orphan BlackLetterkennyHowie Mandel
6thMarch 11, 2018MaudieAnne with an EKim's ConvenienceJonny Harris & Emma Hunter
7thMarch 31, 2019A Colony (Une colonie)Anne with an ESchitt's CreekNo host

Awards categories

The Canadian Screen Awards has roughly 130 categories in total. There are 24 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]



Digital media

  • 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 awards

See also

  • Canadian television awards


  1. "L'Académie lance les nouveaux prix Écrans canadiens" (Press release). L'Académie canadienne du cinéma et de la télévision. 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  2. "Goodbye Genies and Geminis, hello Canadian Screen Awards". The GATE. The GATE Entertainment Magazine. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  3. "Canadian Screen Awards highlights: little suspense, but lots of fun". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  4. "Controversy and The Canadian Screen Awards". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  5. "Canadian Crossing: American and British stars clean up at the Genies, Canada's 'Oscars'". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  6. Shatner, William; Regan, Chris (2011-10-04). 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 2015-12-21.
  8. "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. "Goodbye Genies and Geminis, hello Canadian Screen Awards". The Gate, March 2, 2013.
  13. "Canadian Screen Awards nickname the ‘Candys’ gains traction". Toronto Star, March 4, 2013.
  14. "Chair of Canadian film/TV academy is sweet on calling awards ‘the Candys’". Toronto Star, March 14, 2016.
  15. "The Screenies Are Upon Us!". Now, January 13, 2015.
  16. "Canada's Screenie nominations announced". Winnipeg Free Press, January 14, 2015.
  17. "Room takes Best Film at Canadian Screen Awards". Toronto Star, March 13, 2016.
  18. "'The Candy' gains traction as nickname for the Canadian Screen Awards". CTV News, March 14, 2016.
  19. "Lurching from boring to weird, Canadian Screen Awards did produce notable moments". The Globe and Mail, March 13, 2017.
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