Arnold Pinnock’s series The Porter picked up a slew of trophies on the Canadian Screen Awards’ final live night honouring comedy and drama TV programming, snagging some of the top prizes while becoming one of the most awarded shows in the ceremony’s history.
Echoing the historic success of Clement Virgo’s Brother the night before, the CBC/BET drama about the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters — North America’s first Black-led union — won 12 awards, including best original music, production, costume design, best writing and best drama series.
It was the clear vote of confidence for Canada’s biggest Black-led TV series, which was already the leading overall nominee. But casting a pall on their success is the fact that just months ago, the show’s creative team announced the series will not receive a second season, as American producer BET chose not to back additional episodes.
And nearly mirroring their success, CBC’s dramedy Sort Of cemented its place in the comedy landscape. After coming in as the leading nominee last year and taking home best comedy series of the year, the Bilal Baig-created show won seven statues on Friday — including, once again, best comedy series.
Baig, who uses they/them pronouns, was also awarded best lead performer in a comedy; they are the first winner of that category since organizers opted to remove gendered categories last year.
Their series — which follows Sabi, a non-binary nanny struggling through family and relationship issues — also won best writing, direction, original music, picture editing and best guest performance (Amanda Brugle) in a comedy. Production partners CBC and HBO renewed it for a third season back in December.
And speaking of repeat performances, TallBoyz managed to nearly exactly replicate their showing at the CSAs last year. The performing quartet Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair and Franco Nguyen once again received best writing in a sketch comedy, Bruce McCulloch added another best direction trophy to his shelf, and the show took home best sketch comedy program or series once more.
The only award they didn’t manage to pull in once again was best performance — this time going to Mark Critch, Trent McClellan, Aba Amuquandoh and Stacey McGunnigle of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
Elsewhere, CTV’s Transplant — which follows Syrian war refugee Bash Hamed (Hamza Haq) as he works in a Toronto hospital’s emergency room — won three awards. Alongside best sound and achievement in casting, Haq was awarded best lead performer in a drama series.
Organizers also gave out a number of special awards — Catherine O’Hara was presented with the Academy Icon Award, Simu Liu (who also won best host for his turn at the Junos) received the Radius Award and Ryan Reynolds received the Humanitarian Award. And while it was not a specialty award, Canadian actor Christopher Plummer was given posthumous recognition as best supporting actor in Global’s Departure. Plummer was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the CSAs in 2017.
Friday’s awards round out a week of trophies in a number of media fields. Top winners included documentary BLK: An Origin Story, which took home five wins on Monday; Canada’s Drag Race, winning six trophies in the reality TV show awards on Tuesday; and Brother‘s success on Thursday.
The week will culminate in a pre-taped, hour-long special on Sunday hosted by former late-night personality Samantha Bee at 8 p.m. on CBC TV and CBC Gem.
Other notable winners announced Friday include:
- Best TV movie: Swindler Seduction
- Best direction, TV movie: Under the Christmas Tree (Lisa Rose Snow)
- Best lead performer, TV movie: Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women (Martha Henry)
- Best performing arts program: Buffy Sainte-Marie: Starwalker
- Best writing, TV movie: Miracle in Motor City (Rhonda Baraka)
- Best photography, drama: The Porter (Jordan Oram)
- Best original music, original song: Songbird — The Porter
- Earle Grey Award: Peter MacNeill
- Best picture editing, drama: The Porter (Sandy Pereira)
- Best direction, drama series: The Porter (Charles Officer)
- Best guest performance, drama series: The Porter (Alfre Woodard)
- Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute Award: Jennifer Podemski
- Best achievement in makeup: The Porter (Tracy George, Krista Hann, Alisha Talbot)
- Best visual effects: Detention Adventure (Joe Kicak, Sebastian Harder)
- Best achievement in hair: The Porter (Heather Streilein, Tremaine Thomas)
- Best stunt co-ordination: Pretty Hard Cases (John Stead, Anita Nittoly, Dejah Dixon-Green, Nova Zatzman, George Tchortov)
- Best live entertainment special: The 2022 Juno Awards
- Best photography, comedy: Pretty Hard Cases (Kristin Fieldhouse, csc)
- Best supporting performer, comedy: Children Ruin Everything (Ennis Esmer)