TORONTO — The refugee drama “Antigone” was declared best motion picture on the final night of the Canadian Screen Awards as the film won five trophies, tying with “The Song of Names,” which got the same amount.
“Antigone” is a modern-day adaptation of the Greek tragedy and stars Nahema Ricci as a Montreal teenager who helps her brother escape from prison to prevent him from being deported.
The francophone story from Montreal writer-director Sophie Deraspe has been a critical hit and was Canada’s submission in the 2020 Oscar race for best international feature.
Deraspe won the Canadian Screen Award for adapted screenplay for the film, while Ricci took best actress.
“Antigone” also got awards for achievement in editing for Deraspe and Geoffrey Boulange, and best supporting actress for Nour Belkhiria.
Meanwhile, “The Song of Names” from Quebec director Francois Girard took trophies including best original score and best original song for Oscar-winning Canadian composer Howard Shore.
Tim Roth and Clive Owen star in the story of a Polish-Jewish refugee and violin virtuoso who disappears before a 1951 concert that was to launch his career.
The film, based on Norman Lebrecht’s novel, also won awards for sound editing, overall sound, and achievement in makeup.
Winning three trophies apiece in Thursday’s virtual awards presentation were the Indigenous drama “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” and the offbeat biopic “The Twentieth Century.”
Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Maija Tailfeathers took the trophies for achievement in direction and original screenplay for “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” which also won best cinematography for Norm Li.
Tailfeathers also stars, alongside Violet Nelson, in the acclaimed story of two Indigenous strangers from different social backgrounds who form a bond.
Matthew Rankin’s “The Twentieth Century,” a satirical biopic of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, was honoured for art direction/production design, hair and costume design.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television administers the Canadian Screen Awards, which celebrate homegrown film, TV and digital media.
This year’s event shifted to four nights of online presentations after the annual in-person galas were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Song of Names” was up for a leading nine trophies going into Thursday, but it wasn’t nominated in the top categories of best picture or best director.
Other winners in Thursday’s show honouring cinematic arts included Mark O’Brien as best lead actor for playing legendary goaltender Terry Sawchuk in “Goalie.”
The supporting actor trophy went to Remy Girard for “And the Birds Rained Down,” about a group of seniors living in the wilderness.
Heather Young won the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award for “Murmur,” a moving story of a woman who starts adopting pets to fill a void as she tries to pull her life together.
Best animated short went to “Giant Bear,” while “Pick” nabbed best live action short drama.
CTV’s crime drama “Cardinal,” which wrapped up its fourth and final season earlier this month, nabbed a leading seven trophies for season 3 in Wednesday’s show honouring scripted programs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2019.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press