CSAs ’23: CBC’s The Porter leads TV nominations
by Victoria Ahearn and Kelly Townsend, Playback
CBC’s 1920s railway drama The Porter has steamrolled its way to this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, leading both the television and overall nominations with 19 nods.
The pubcaster also dominated the top four TV nominee spots announced on Wednesday (Feb. 22), with its comedy Sort Of and CBC Gem’s Detention Adventure receiving 15 nominations, followed by CBC’s recently cancelled buddy cop dramedy Pretty Hard Cases with 11. The winners in 145 film, TV and digital media categories will be announced during Canadian Screen Week, which runs April 11 to 16, culminating in a pre-recorded broadcast show hosted by Samantha Bee on CBC.
The first season of The Porter (pictured), which also aired on BET+ in the U.S., is nominated for awards including Best Drama Series, Best Direction for Charles Officer and R.T. Thorne individually, Best Writing for Annmarie Morais and Aubrey Nealon (episode 101) and Marsha Greene (episode 104), and Best Lead Performer, Drama Series for Aml Ameen, Ronnie Rowe Jr., and Mouna Traoré, individually.
Produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures and Toronto’s Sphere Media (formerly Sienna Films), The Porter is also named in drama categories including guest performance for Alfre Woodard as well as nods for photography, picture editing, sound, production design or art direction, costume design, make-up, hair, original music and and original music — original song.
This year marks the first time the Canadian Screen Awards will have completely gender-neutral performance categories.
The other Best Drama Series contenders are Global’s Departure (Shaftesbury, Deadpan Pictures; pictured right), which has a total of five nominations, including supporting performance nods for Wendy Crewson, Karen LeBlanc and the late Christopher Plummer; CBC’s Moonshine (Six Eleven Media/eOne), which has a total of six nods, including Best Lead Performer for Jennifer Finnigan and guest performance nods for Allan Hawco and Jonathan Torrens; CBC’s SkyMed (Piazza Entertainment); and CTV’s Transplant (Sphere Media), which is up for eight trophies in total, including two writing nominations (for Joseph Kay and Rachel Langer jointly, and Carmine Pierre-Dufour individually) as well as two Best Lead Performer nods — for Hamza Haq and Laurence Leboeuf.
Season two of Sort Of, produced by Sphere Media-owned Sienna Films, is up for trophies including lead performance for co-creator Bilal Baig as well as Best Comedy Series — a category that also has CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s Astrid & Lilly Save the World (Blue Ice Pictures), CTV’s Children Ruin Everything (New Metric Media), CBC Gem’s Fakes (Reality Distortion Field) and Crave’s Letterkenny (New Metric Media).
Peabody Award-winning Sort Of (pictured left) is also a contender in comedy categories including direction for Joyce Wong and co-creator Fab Filippo, individually; writing (a solo nod for JP Larocque and a joint nod for Baig and Filippo); supporting performance for Amanda Cordner; and guest performance for Amanda Brugel. It’s also recognized in the categories of picture editing, sound, production design or art direction, costume design, and original music.
Detention Adventure (pictured right) earned the most nominations for a children’s series, along with tying with Sort Of for the second-most noms for a TV series overall.
The series, produced by LoCo Motion Pictures and Broken Compass Films, is up for Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series. It earned five nominations alone in the Best Performance, Children’s or Youth category, and three for Best Writing, Children’s or Youth. The other nominations were in photography, picture editing, visual effects, original music, and two for original song.
The nominations for Pretty Hard Cases (Cameron Pictures) include Best Lead Performer, Comedy for Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore individually, and individual supporting performer nods for Tricia Black, Al Mukadam and Karen Robinson. The show is also named in comedy categories including best photography, sound, costume design, original music, stunt coordination and achievement in casting.
Other scripted series with a handful of nominations apiece include CBC’s Workin’ Moms (Wolf and Rabbit Entertainment) with eight, including a directing nod for Yael Staav and a writing nod for Catherine Reitman, who is also up for a lead performer trophy along with fellow star Dani Kind. CBC’s Coroner (Muse Entertainment/Cineflix Studios/Back Alley Films) is also up for eight, including Best Direction for Cory Bowles.
Netting six nominations apiece are Letterkenny, including two nods for guest performers Anna Hopkins and the aforementioned Torrens; Children Ruin Everything (pictured left), including a lead performance nod for Meaghan Rath and two nods for writing — one for Kurt Smeaton and another joint nomination for him and Jessica Meya; Citytv’s Hudson & Rex (Shaftesbury, Pope Productions), including for lead performers Mayko Nguyen and John Reardon; and CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury), including a supporting performer nod for Daniel Maslany.
CBC’s Run the Burbs (Pier 21 Films) is in the running for five awards, including best direction for Aleysa Young and lead performance nods for Rakhee Morzaria and co-creator Andrew Phung.
Landing four nods apiece are CBC’s Son of a Critch (Project 10 Productions, Take The Shot Productions), including a supporting performer nod for Malcolm McDowell, and CBC’s Diggstown, including Best Direction for Bowles.
CBC’s TallBoyz (Accent Entertainment) also has four nods, including Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series, a category that also includes CTV’s four-time nominated Roast Battle Canada (Just For Laughs Television, Counterfeit Pictures).
The Best TV Movie category has three nods for CTV Drama Channel — for A Chance For Christmas (Neshama Entertainment), Miracle in Motor City (Cineflix Productions), which is up for three trophies in total, and two-time nominated Under the Christmas Tree (Neshama Entertainment). The other nominees in the category include Citytv’s Saying Yes to Christmas (CME Winter Productions) and CTV Life Channel’s Swindler Seduction (Muse Entertainment Enterprises), which has two nominations in total.
Looking at the unscripted/factual competition, the Best Reality/Competition Program or Series category includes several marblemedia-produced titles: CBC Gem’s Best in Miniature (pictured right), which has two nominations in total; Netflix’s Blown Away, which has three nods in total; and Discovery Channel’s A Cut Above, which also has three nods. The category also includes CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada (Insight Productions), which has a total of six nods, and Crave’s Canada’s Drag Race (Blue Ant Media, Saloon Media), which is the most nominated reality/competition program or series with nine nods in total.
Two Great Pacific Media-produced titles are up for Best Lifestyle Program or Series: APTN’s Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet, which has two nominations in total, and HGTV’s Gut Job. The category also includes CBC Gem’s The Big Sex Talk (Noble Television) HGTV’s Rock Solid Builds (Cineflix Productions) and CTV Life Channel’s Mary Makes It Easy (Proper Television), which is tied with Cottage Life’s Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest (Wild Harvest Productions) as the most-nominated lifestyle program/series with a total of three nods.
Other multiple nominees on the unscripted side include CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show (Proper Television) with six nods, including one for Best Direction, Reality/Competition for Dave Russell; and CBC’s Race Against the Tide (marblemedia) with three nods, including one for directing for Graeme Lynch.
The category of Best History Documentary Program or Series has three CBC titles: Esi Edugyan: Out of the Sun, The CBC Massey Lectures (CBC), Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard (Blue Ant Studios; pictured) and Summit 72 (72 Summit Productions). That category is rounded out by Global’s ET Canada Presents Remembering Queen Elizabeth II (Entertainment Tonight Canada) and Discovery Channel’s Underground Railroad: The Secret History (Attraction).
Documentary-focused titles with five nominations apiece include History’s BLK: An Origin Story (BLK Productions), W Network’s Sex with Sue (Banger Films), Crave’s We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel) (90th Parallel Productions), and Crave’s Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On (White Pine Pictures, Eagle Vision).
Makeful’s Comedy Punks: Kids In The Hall (Blue Ant Media) has four nods, including Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series, as does CBC’s Arctic Vets (Entertainment One), including Best Factual Series.
Up for Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series alongside Detention Adventure are TVO’s Odd Squad Mobile Unit (Sinking Ship Entertainment), Family Channel’s Holly Hobbie (Aircraft Pictures) and Malory Towers (WildBrain, King Bert Productions), and YTV’s The Next Step (Boat Rocker).
Odd Squad Mobile Unit picked up five nominations overall, the second-highest for a children’s program this year, while Holly Hobbie earned four nominations in total. The Next Step earned three nods overall, and Malory Towers picked up two.
YTV’s The Hardy Boys (Lambur Productions) also earned four nominations this year, including Best Direction, Children’s or Youth for Melanie Orr.
Apple TV+ series The Snoopy Show (WildBrain) led nominees in the animation category with five total nominations. The series is up for Best Animation Program or Series alongside Big Blue (Guru Studio), Denis and Me: Santa Who (Headspinner Productions), Family Channel’s Summer Memories (Aircraft Pictures) and Teletoon’s Total Dramarama (Fresh TV).
Summer Memories earned three nominations overall, while both Total Dramarama and Big Blue earned second nominations in the Best Direction, Animation category Apple TV+ series Pinecone & Pony and YTV’s Super Wish (redknot) also received three nominations in total.
Family Jr.’s The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy (Lopii Productions) picked up the most nominations in the preschool category with four, including Best Preschool Program or Series, alongside fellow Family Jr. series Happy House of Frightenstein (Headspinner Productions), TVOKids’ PAW Patrol (Spin Master Entertainment), Treehouse’s Pikwik Pack (Guru Studio) and CBC Kids’ Proud to Be Me – Anti-Racism Special. Both Happy House of Frightenstein and PAW Patrol picked up three total nominations each.
Up for Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series are TVO’s All-Round Champion (marblemedia) and Raven’s Quest (Apartment 11 Productions), and TVOKids’ Gabby’s Farm (Sphere Media) and Leo’s Pollinators (Fifth Ground Entertainment). All-Round Champion received three nominations overall
CBC Gem series Revenge of the Black Best Friend (iThentic; pictured right) leads nominations for digital media at nine total nods, including Best Web Program or Series, Fiction.
The series is up for three writing honours for Amanda Parris, Keavy Lynch and Motion, two lead performance nods for Oluniké Adeliyi and Araya Mengesha, supporting performance nods for Ashton James and Dwain Murphy, and directing for Thyrone Tommy.
Also nominated for Best Web Program or Series, Fiction are Shaftesbury’s Mary & Flo on the Go and Topline, Avocado Toast the Series (Border2Border Entertainment), and Tokens (A Token Entertainment Company).
Avocado Toast the Series earned seven nominations total this year, including two lead performance nods, three supporting, and one directing nod for Sam Coyle. Tokens followed with four nominations overall, including a directing nod for Winnie Jong, a lead performance and a supporting performance nomination. Topline picked up three nominations, including writing for Romeo Candido and Marie Beath Badian, and directing for Candido.
Nominated for Best Web Program or Series, Non-Fiction are OUTtv’s Pride: The LGBTQ+ History Series (We Demand Productions), CBC’s Being Black in Canada: My Journey Here and Being Black in Canada at The Olympic Games, and Entertainment Tonight Canada specials Pride and Royal Rewind. Pride: The LGBTQ+ History Series is also up for Best Host, Web Program or Series for Mark Kenneth Woods.
A select number of other categories can be found below. The full list of nominees is available on the Canadian Screen Awards website.
Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series
Roast Battle Canada
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
Best Factual Series
How I Got Here
Lost Car Rescue
Never Seen Again
We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel)
Rob Stewart Art for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series
Carbon – The Unauthorised Biography
Curb Your Carbon
Ice and Fire: Tracking Canada’s Climate Crisis
Nature’s Big Year
Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program
Marketplace: Crisis in Home Care
My Indian Name
Best Documentary Program
The Case Against Cosby
Kings of Coke
The Perfect Story
Sex with Sue
Playback story written by Victoria Ahearn and Kelly Townsend