Witnessing the birth of our home-grown star system

The Academy of Canadian Film and Television saluted the past but their annual awards also provided some candidates who might earn it down the road.

Stephan James

The show: The Canadian Screen Awards (CBC)
The moment: The birth of a star system

Midway through the two-hour ceremony honouring excellence in film, television and digital, the director Atom Egoyan introduced Lifetime Achievement Award winner Christopher Plummer as “quite simply, the best stage and screen actor this country has produced.”

Plummer was as professionally modest as ever. “I’m so old my first word as a baby was in Latin,” he began, and concluded with, “The curtain has not yet fallen [on my career]. It’s simply stuck.”

So clearly deserving is Plummer, you have to wonder who the Academy of Canadian Film and Television could have given this award to before him. But the night provided some candidates who might earn it down the road.

Tatiana Maslany won best actress for both the film The Other Half and the TV series Orphan Black. Wunderkind-turned-Wunderadult Xavier Dolan won for writing and directing It’s Only the End of the World.

Notice a pattern? Canada keeps insisting it doesn’t have a star system, but it sure looks to me like we have stars.

Yeah, Dave Chapelle got a standing ovation just for showing up, but the Icon award he presented was a worthy one, to Montreal’s Just for Laughs. And guess why: because it creates and nurtures comedy stars.

Then, in the most promising development, The Fan’s Choice award went to Natasha Negovanlis, who plays the title character, a queer vampire, on Carmilla, a digital series. It wasn’t exactly the Big Bang, but small explosions create stars, too.

Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She appears Monday through Thursday.