'The Borgias' wins top Gemini Award
TORONTO -- Bravo's papal drama "The Borgias" and CBC's long-running political satire "The Rick Mercer Report" were named the country's best drama and comedy series at the Gemini Awards on Wednesday, while Jason Priestley's raunchy comedy "Call Me Fitz" took home the most awards.
Standup superstar Russell Peters hosted the televised bash from Toronto, where guests included Catherine O'Hara, Alan Thicke, Hugh Dillon and Nicole Appleton.
"In case you just tuned in, no I'm not Ian Hanomansing," Peters joked off the top of the show, referring to the popular Vancouver-based CBC news anchor.
"The Borgias" beat out the Showcase mystery "Endgame," The Movie Network/Movie Central's teen series "Skins," CBC's sexy period serial, "The Tudors," and CTV's cop series "Flashpoint," which had led the race overall with 17 nominations.
"Flashpoint" collected three trophies at an industry bash last week -- including best supporting actor, best guest actor and best dramatic writing -- but was shut out of the televised segment of the awards.
"The Rick Mercer Report" beat out "Fitz" for best comedy but Priestley's HBO Canada series picked up a trophy for comedic actress nominee Tracy Dawson, giving it a leading seven wins overall.
Dawson said it was a privilege to work on the outrageous show, in which Priestley stars as a morally bankrupt used car salesman.
"I think it's really unique and original and something that I certainly haven't seen in Canadian television before. The work I get to do is unlike anything I have ever gotten to do," said Dawson, who started out as a writer on the show.
"It's a total joyride of hilarity and dirty nonsense. Just disgusting."
"Fitz" collected six trophies at an industry bash last week. Those earlier prizes included best director, best writing, best supporting actor and best supporting actress in a comedy.
It had 16 nominations going into the race.
Two of the acting trophies Wednesday went to performers from cancelled series -- Callum Keith Rennie won best dramatic actor for Showcase's "Shattered" and Peter Keleghan won best comedic actor for his work on CBC's "18 to Life."
"It's kind of bittersweet," Keleghan said of the win backstage.
"It's not the icing on the cake, I was thinking that it might be the dirt on the coffin or something. It's over, it's done, I'm glad some part of it was celebrated. I had the greatest time."
Rennie, who played a homicide detective suffering from dissociative identity disorder, said he suspects the show was too dark for audiences to survive.
"I think it was a very difficult idea to get behind in lots of ways because of the character," he said backstage.
"There wasn't a lightness to it for the most part, it was quite dark."
Wednesday's hour-long broadcast featured seven marquee categories: best sports host or interviewer, best actor and actress in a comedy, best actor and actress in a drama, best comedy and best drama.
The ceremony aired on CBC-TV, which Peters noted turns 75 this year.
"Which incidentally is also the age of their youngest viewer," Peters said to groans from a star-packed audience.