Stephenson and “The Scraper”

The Geminis are dead. Long live the Canadian Screen Awards.
That’s the official name of the new Canadian film and TV industry award as announced today in Toronto. Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Chair Martin Katz and Academy CEO Helga Stephenson made the announcement Tuesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Word has been out for months that the Academy was going to combine the Gemini and Genie Awards into one two hour TV and Film awardapalooza, which CBC will air Sunday March 3 at 8 p.m. Martin Short, a smart pick, will host.
Kudos to Katz and Stephenson for hustling this all together in less than a year. The Geminis have long had a stink on them and nobody ever knew what a Genie was. As a result, both galas were audience repellent. A fresh start can only help both industries.
When I pointed out that the new statue kinda looks like an ice scrapper, Stephenson said that seemed very Canadian. Those suckers could come in handy in March as gala guests head back to their frozen cars.
Katz, always thinking, could see Canadian Tire jumping on board as a partner.
Coming up with a name for the award was not easy. Consultants were consulted. So were broadcast and industry partners, who shot down the idea of sitting out award seasons for a year to give this thing time to find its feet. Do it now was the word back on timing. As for the name, “call it what it is,” was the message Katz said he kept hearing.

The Screen Award: a thousand and one uses

Stephenson says the words “TV” and “Film” were rejected as your dad’s award show titles. The kids watch screens, so the Canadian Screen Awards it is. New media, like webisodes, are also part of the mix.
As for a nickname, Stephenson says she hopes that will come in due course. The Academy Awards didn’t start off as the Oscars; that was a nickname coined later when Louis B. Mayer or Bette Davis made some offhand remark about who the statue looked like. (There’s a couple of conflicting legends, including this one attributing the nickname to a remark made by the Academy librarian.)
Stephenson said the idea of naming the statue after a Canadian industry pioneer like Mary Pickford (Norman Jewison? Gordon Pinsent?) was kicked around, but, again, those names do not resonate, it is believed, with the 18-49-year-olds who make up the part of the audience advertisers care about. (The Biebers?)
The Shatner, or The Shat Awards, would have been a way to boldly go. “I went through Shat to make this series…” the acceptance speeches would write themselves.
Calling it the Canadian Screen Awards allows producers to say their content is “CSA approved.”
I don’t think that will catch on, so I’m going with The Scraper. It looks like one, and if you’ve ever tried to make a film or TV show in this country, you know what it’s like to scrape by.
Les Prix Gemeaux will continue to honour French-language television; those awards will air Sept. 16 on Radio-Canada.

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