Canadian Screen Awards: Schitt’s Creek leads nominations for 3rd year running

Canadian Screen Awards-Schitt's Creek leads nominations for 3rd year running-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Schitt’s Creek stars, from left, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Eugene Levy and Dan Levy. The show once again topped the nominations list at the Canadian Screen Awards, scoring 21 nods this year. (CBC)

Well into its third year of topping awards shows, comedy Schitt’s Creek led the nominations for this year’s Canadian Screen Awards with 21 nods. 

Schitt’s Creek, star Catherine O’Hara win Golden Globes

The show, which saw its sixth and final season run last year, also topped the CSA nominations list in 2020 and shared the honour with Anne with an E in 2019. It swept the comedy category at the Emmys in September, and last month won the Golden Globe for best comedy while star Catherine O’Hara took home the award for best actress.

At the CSAs, the show is competing for best writing and best direction for a comedy, as well as best comedy series. Father-son duo Dan and Eugene Levy are up for best lead actor in a comedy, while Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara are up for best lead actress.

The Schitt’s Creek nominations were among a number of honours given to departing shows. CTV’s Cardinal, which broadcast its fourth and final season last year, had the second-most nods with 15 and tied with CBC’s ill-fated Trickster — which was cancelled earlier this year after its first season.

Best comedy series

  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Kim’s Convenience
  • Letterkenny
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Workin’ Moms
Kim's Convenience-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Kim’s Convenience, the long-running Canadian sitcom, took home 11 nominations for the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards. (CBC Gem)

Slightly further down the list was Kim’s Convenience with 11 nods — it is also nominated for best comedy and best comedy writing and direction, while stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon are up for best lead actor and actress.

The sitcom is broadcasting its final season this year, though two of its other stars — Nicole Power and Andrew Phung — will appear in their own new, half-hour original comedies. Those are set to launch during the upcoming 2021-22 broadcast season.

Phung is nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy series for his work on Kim’s Convenience.

Best lead actress, TV comedy

  • Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience
  • Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
  • Dani Kind, Workin’ Moms
  • Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms

Best lead actor, TV comedy

  • Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
  • Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
  • Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Also up for 11 awards, including best comedy, is Workin’ Moms, while Baroness Von Sketch Show is in the running for six.

Blood Quantum, a horror flick about a zombie uprising on a First Nations reserve, topped the film nominations with 10 nods, including best original screenplay, best actor for lead star Michael Greyeyes and achievement in visual effects.

Despite that, the film was not nominated for best motion picture.

Blood Quantum-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Forrest Goodluck, Michael Greyeyes and Kiowa Gordon appear in a scene from Jeff Barnaby’s sophomore feature film Blood Quantum. The film is up for 10 awards at the 2021 CSAs. (Elevation Pictures)

That honour did go to Funny Boy — director Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of the novel of the same name — about a Tamil young man coming of age during the Sri Lankan civil war.

The film, which is nominated in nine categories at the CSAs, was originally Canada’s submission to the Oscars for best international film, though it was later rejected by the Academy for falling short of their language requirements..

Best motion picture

  • Beans
  • Funny Boy
  • Nadia, Butterfly
  • The Nest
  • Souterrain (Underground)

Best original screenplay

  • Charles Officer, Wendy Brathwaite, Akilla’s Escape
  • Jeff Barnaby, Blood Quantum
  • Evan Morgan, The Kid Detective
  • Sean Durkin, The Nest
  • Sophie Dupuis, Souterrain (Underground)

Before its rejection, the film stirred controversy for a lack of Tamil actors in its core cast, as well as what Mehta herself called a “dodgy” representation of the Tamil language. Mehta said the actors’ voices were later re-recorded, and the film showed up among 366 eligible for best picture at the Oscars — the highest number in 50 years.

Charles Officer’s crime drama Akilla’s Escape scooped up eight nods, though it was also left off the best motion picture list. It was followed by the Oka Crisis-inspired Beans and rape-revenge thriller Violation with five nods each.

The last two films garnered their directors — Tracey Deer and co-directors Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli respectively — nominations for the John Dunning best first feature film award.

Akilla's Escape-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Actors Saul Williams and Donisha Prendergast are shown in this undated handout photo from the film Akilla’s Escape. It is nominated for eight awards, including a best actor nod for Williams. (Toronto International Film Festival/The Canadian Press)

The awards moved to a digital format last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced awards shows to impose social distancing guidelines. The live gala events were cancelled and the announcement of winners postponed, in a move that organizers said would likely cause a “disastrous” financial fallout.

This year’s awards will take place from May 17-20, as part of a seven-part, genre-based series of presentations streamed from as well as the Canadian Academy Twitter and YouTube channels.

The main event, which will feature a “curated selection of prominent awards,” will stream live on May 20 at 8:00 pm ET.

Select 2021 nominees:

Best lead actress, drama series

  • Kristin Kreuk, Burden of Truth
  • Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
  • Vinessa Antoine, Diggstown
  • Crystle Lightning, Trickster
  • Melanie Scrofano, Wynonna Earp

Best lead actor, TV drama series

  • Peter Mooney, Burden of Truth
  • Billy Campbell, Cardinal
  • Roger Cross, Coroner
  • Hamza Haq, Transplant
  • Joel Oulette, Trickster
Trickster-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Joel Oulette, left, appears in a scene from Trickster. Though the show was cancelled after just one season, Oulette is up for an award for best lead actor in a drama series. (CBC)

Best performing arts program

  • La Bohème
  • FreeUp! Emancipation Day Special
  • Othello
  • We’re Funny That Way: The Virtual Pride Special

Best documentary program

  • Company Town
  • Finding Sally
  • Hockey Mom
  • The Internet of Everything
  • They Call Me Dr. Miami

Best history documentary program or series

  • Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
  • Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • Fight to the Finish
  • Unabomber: In His Own Words
  • Witches of Salem
Baroness Von Sketch Show-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Baroness Von Sketch Show starring Carolyn Taylor, Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeill and Jennifer Whalen in a witch sketch from the show’s final season. All four are nominated for the best sketch comedy show and ensemble performance category. (Jackie Brown)

Best sketch comedy show & ensemble performance

  • Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, Jennifer Whalen, Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Cathy Jones, Mark Critch, Susan Kent, Trent McClellan, This Hour has 22 Minutes
  • Maggie Cassella, Katie Rigg, Carolyn Taylor, Gavin Crawford, Lea DeLaria, Colin Mochrie, Kinley Mochrie, Deb McGrath, We’re Funny That Way: The Virtual Pride Special

Best performance, children’s or youth

  • Lilly Bartlam, Detention Adventure
  • Simone Miller Castoro-Qualizza, Detention Adventure
  • Tomaso Sanelli, Detention Adventure
  • Saara Chaudry, Dino Dana
  • Ruby Jay, Holly Hobbie

Best local newscast

  • CBC Vancouver News at 6
  • CityNews at 6
  • CTV: News Toronto at 6
  • Global News BC

Best news anchor, national

  • Melissa Ridgen, Dennis Ward, APTN National News
  • Andrew Chang, Adrienne Arsenault, Ian Hanomansing, CBC News: The National
  • Lisa LaFlamme, CTV: National News with Lisa LaFlamme
  • Dawna Friesen, Global National

Best news anchor, local

  • Debra Arbec, CBC Montreal News at 6
  • Tom Murphy, Amy Smith, CBC Nova Scotia News
  • Dwight Drummond, CBC Toronto News at 6
  • Chris Ensing, CBC Windsor News at 6
  • Michelle Dubé, Nathan Downer, CTV: News Toronto at 6

Donald Brittain award for best social/political documentary program

  • 9/11 Kids
  • Above the Law
  • Assholes: A Theory
  • Meat the Future
  • The Walrus and the Whistleblower
Funny Boy-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Brandon Ingram, left, and Rehan Mudannayake appear in a scene from Funny Boy. The film is nominated for nine awards, including best adapted screenplay. (Vidur Bharatram)

Best adapted screenplay

  • Taylor Olson, Bone Cage
  • Patrick deWitt, French Exit
  • Shyam Selvadurai, Deepa Mehta, Funny Boy
  • Catherine Léger, Goddess of the Fireflies | La déesse des mouches à feu
  • Johnny Darrell, Andrew Duncan, Loretta Sarah Todd, Monkey Beach

Best performance by an actor in a leading role, film

  • Saul Williams, Akilla’s Escape
  • Michael Greyeyes, Blood Quantum
  • Alex Wolff, Castle in the Ground
  • Lance Henriksen, Falling
  • Joakim Robillard, Souterrain (Underground)

Best performance by an actress in a leading role, film

  • Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit
  • Carrie Coon, The Nest
  • Carmen Moore, Rustic Oracle
  • Rosalie Pépin, Vacarme
  • Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Violation

Best national newscast

  • APTN National News
  • CBC News: The National
  • CTV: National News with Lisa LaFlamme
  • Global National

Best news or information program

  • APTN: Nation to Nation – Stopping the Ripple
  • CBC News: the fifth estate – The Autopsy (Part 1)
  • CBC News: The National – January 8, 2020
  • CBC Vancouver: Unmasking Racism
  • W5: The Invisible Man

A complete list of nominees in all categories is available at


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