A Gemini jumble : Made In Canada leads a too-long list of TV nominations

A Gemini jumble
Made In Canada leads a too-long list of TV nominations
By BILL BRIOUX — Toronto Sun

Kind of ironic that Made In Canada leads the list of nominations for the 17th Annual Gemini Awards, announced yesterday in Toronto.

The edgy satire, which makes toast of the Canadian TV industry, received 14 nominations, including Best Comedy Program or Series, Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Series (Rick Mercer, Peter Keleghan, Dan Lett, Leah Pinsent and Jackie Torrens) and Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety show (sweeping the category with five nominations).

Da Vinci’s Inquest (10 nominations), Cold Squad (9) and the TV-movie Torso (9) were the other Gemini toppers. Several cancelled shows, including The Associates (8) and the skanky specialty soap Paradise Falls (4) also made the list.

Actor Colm Feore was singled out for Trudeau, which managed six nominations. Random Passage also earned six, one more than CTV’s Tagged — The Jonathan Wamback Story and CBC’s The Last Chapter.

Comedian Sean Cullen, who was a hit both as a presenter and as an Industry Night host last year, returns to host the main gala, which will air Nov. 4 on CBC. His own CBC comedy/variety series bows in January.

Made In Canada returns for a fifth and final CBC season that same month. Who will rip the Canadian TV industry after that? There is no shortage of targets, including the Geminis themselves, a mess of a show that seemed beyond parody during the many low moments of yesterday’s press event.

Whose idea was it to allow a local comic to hijack yesterday’s proceedings? This knob wasted a lot of time stumbling and mumbling over names. The sorry shtick wore off long before he got to Best Photography in a Comedy, Variety or Performance Arts Program or Series, one of several catch-all categories that should simply be dropped.

If the nomination ceremony seems endless, is there any hope for the show?

Next up were the Designer Guys, perhaps the only men in Canada who think shinny is pronounced “shiny.” (Shinny: The Hockey In All Of Us was among the shows nominated in the Best Sports Program or Series category.)

Host Diana Swain from CBC’s Disclosure tried her best to lend an air of professionalism to the proceedings. “This is further proof that being a talking head is harder than it looks,” she remarked after Moses Znaimer’s name was mispronounced for the umpteenth time.

To top it off, an American actor, John Shea from Mutant X, delivered a classy clinic on pronunciation and presentation.

The press conference underscored the basic problem with the Geminis: It’s a small-time show posing as a big-time event.

Now, please, there are many worthy and terrific television shows produced each year in Canada. The talent both behind and in front of the camera is deep and impressive and many individuals could kick butt anywhere.

But do they have to be recognized over three nights? In 75 categories? All televised!?

One producer I ran into seemed stunned to learn her youth series wasn’t nominated. Why shouldn’t she be shocked? Isn’t every single show produced in Canada each year up for a Gemini award? Doesn’t this devalue all of them?

Maybe the army of names read yesterday is required to fill a hall over three nights. Maybe it is to please the more than two dozen sponsors, many of them networks scrambling for the three or four awards CBC doesn’t win. It can’t be because Canadian viewers demand to see it all presented on television, since fewer people watched across Canada last year than the number of people who live in Brampton, Ont.

In stinging contrast, CTV’s simulcast of the U.S. TV awards, The Emmys, drew 2.1 million Canadian viewers.

That was a boring show, too, but Canadians tune in to see what Jennifer Aniston or Oprah or Kelly Osbourne wears. As Gemini host Mike Bullard cracked last year, “Let’s face facts. Nobody in the G-D country knows who any of us is.”

The Academy has tried to address that this year by asking Internet users to pick Gemini’s Hottest Star. So far, 45,000 online entries have come up with the following names: Gordon Michael Woolvett, Lexa Doig, Maxin Roy and Dabiel Clark. Da Vinci veteran Nicholas Campbell made the cut, along with Stefan Brogren, who played Snake on DeGrassi.

Who are these people? The hottest stars in Canada. Exactly.

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