Beans, Blood Quantum win big at 4th night of Canadian Screen Awards

A zombie horror movie set on a First Nations reserve took home the most trophies on the final night of the Canadian Screen Awards on Thursday, while the top prize went to a coming-of-age film inspired by the Oka Crisis. 

Tracey Deer’s Oka-inspired Beans took home both the John Dunning best first feature film award and best motion picture — marking a triumphant arrival for the director who only last year won the Toronto International Film Festival’s emerging talent award.  

Jeff Barnaby’s horror Blood Quantum, meanwhile, picked up six of its 10 nominations including best visual effects, costume design and performance by a lead actor for star Michael Greyeyes. 

Akilla’s Escape, meanwhile, came close behind Blood Quantum with five wins including best original screenplay and cinematography. 

Hollywood star Michelle Pfeiffer won best leading actress for her performance in French Exit — adapted from the novel by Patrick deWitt, who also wrote the screenplay.  

LISTEN | Greyeyes on his prolific career:

Unreserved41:46From ballet dancer to zombie slayer: Cree actor Michael Greyeyes on his prolific career

The Plains Cree actor and performer from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan has appeared in more than 50 films and TV shows, ranging from prominent Indigenous leaders like Sitting Bull to Gooch in Dance Me Outside, one of his most well-known roles. 41:46

After a somewhat arduous awards season, Deepa Mehta won best director for Funny Boy. The film was originally slated to be Canada’s submission to the Oscars for best international film, but was later rejected by the Academy for falling short of its language requirements.

The film took home best adapted screenplay — going to both Mehta and Shyam Selvadurai, who wrote the book — and music for composer Howard Shore. 

Among the TV categories, Schitt’s Creek, which aired its final season last year, continued to win big. 

Coming off six CSA wins on Wednesday, star Catherine O’Hara again won best lead actress in a comedy series — her sixth in a row, one for each season of the show. 

The CBC show also won best comedy series for the third year in a row, and the fourth time overall. 

Actors Saul Williams and Donisha Prendergast are shown in this scene from Akilla’s Escape. The film took home five awards. (The Canadian Press)

Schitt’s wasn’t the only show to see gold. Paul Sun Hyung-Lee was for a third time honoured with best lead actor in a comedy for his portrayal of long-suffering Kim’s Convenience patriarch Appa. 

In what turned out to be a surprise to its cast, the show aired its final season earlier this year after creator Ins Choi departed. Coming off of three wins on Wednesday, the sitcom won four CSAs this year overall, coming behind Canada’s Drag Race with five and tying with Baroness von Sketch Show.

Brandon Ingram, left, and Rehan Mudannayake appear in a scene from Funny Boy. The film won best adapted screenplay, music and direction. (Vidur Bharatram)

Outside of comedy, the CSAs recognized another show that met a premature end: CBC’s Trickster, which was cancelled earlier this year after one season. Crystle Lightning, who is also a professional DJ, won best lead actress in a drama series for her turn as Maggie.

CTV’s medical series Transplant nabbed both best actor in a drama for lead Hamza Haq and best drama series.

The awards, organized by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, recognize excellence in Canadian film, television and digital media. They were presented virtually for a second year in a row because of the pandemic on the academy’s website and social media pages. 

The full list of winners can be found on the Canadian Screen Awards website.

Crystle Lightning, left, appears alongside Joel Oulette in scene from CBC’s Trickster. (CBC)

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