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  • Jun 25 2018 Vanity Fair

    A Look Beneath the Veil of Alias Grace’s Showstopping Hypnotism

    Star Sarah Gadon and director Mary Harron break down the unsettling, revealing climax of the Netflix miniseries.

    A Look Beneath the Veil of Alias Grace’s Showstopping Hypnotism

    As Emmy nominations approach, Vanity Fair’s HWD team is once again diving deep into how some of this season’s greatest scenes and characters came together. You can read more of these close looks here.

    THE SCENE: ALIAS GRACE SEASON 1, PART 6
    The centerpiece of Netflix’s period miniseries Alias Grace, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, is an almost-18-minute long scene where convicted murderess Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), a longtime inmate, becomes the subject of a well-intentioned but theatrical exhibition of hypnosis. Grace’s good manners and longtime protestations of innocence have convinced some that she has been taken advantage of. But the holes in her story, and the conflicting testimony of witnesses, lead to her imprisonment nonetheless. In an extremely Victorian move, her supporters suggest hypnosis in front of a private audience—hoping to uncover something in her repressed memories, while also enjoying the novelty of a recent fad.

    The process does not go as expected. Beneath the sheer black veil placed over her head—and in front of every uptight clergyman and stuffy society matron who has gossiped about her—Grace becomes an entirely different person. She begins to speak in a low, hissing voice, and darts malevolent glances at Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft), the obsessive psychiatrist attempting to determine if Grace can claim insanity. The voice coming out of her mouth is saucy, cunning, and remorseless; it claims to be Mary Whitney (Rebecca Liddiard), a girlhood friend of Grace’s who died after a botched abortion. In just a few minutes—with just the addition of a veil and some theatrics—the scene radically re-frames the story, offering Grace up as a martyr, a murderer, a performance artist, or the subject of supernatural possession.

    Director Mary Harron anchored the sequence on Gadon’s performance, laying out the scene around her as if it were a painting. The high, curtained windows of the parlor, coupled with the somber tones of the audience’s Victorian dress, suggested to her a John Singer Sargent portrait; fittingly, the folds of the sheer black veil fall over Gadon’s face like broad brushstrokes. Both Gadon and Harron said in separate interviews that they were nervous when approaching the scene, owing to its complexity and significance.

    Both, however, left satisfied with what they accomplished. “It’s the masterpiece of the show,” Gadon said. And, as Harron observed, “The veil is like the perfect image or metaphor for the whole show, because Grace is veiled—she’s partly obscured, she’s enigmatic, and you’re constantly trying to see the real self. So it was a beautiful image, in the end.”

    HOW IT CAME TOGETHER
    As written by Sarah Polley, this sequence offered room for interpretation—which made filming it particularly daunting for its director and star. The hypnotism was like a one-act play within the show itself, said Gadon. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of work to learn. It became a massive sequence.”

    Watch Now: Milo Ventimiglia Recaps “This is Us” Seasons 1 & 2 in 12 Minutes

    Originally, Harron said, the scene took place seated around a table, “more like a séance.” But after watching Augustine, a 2012 historical drama from French director Alice Winocour, Harron realized that such an arrangement wouldn’t tease out one of the scene’s most vital elements: that Grace, an object of fascination and a true-crime celebrity in her own right, is being put on display by the hypnotist, Jeremiah (Zachary Levi), a charlatan with only dubious scientific talent.

    “He doesn’t know that she’s going to talk in Mary’s voice,” Harron said. “But there’s also that aspect you don’t know—is it a séance? Is she actually channeling something? Is it some kind of confession? . . . Is it a repressed self taking over? Or is it a kind of ghost—the ghost of Mary Whitney? You just don’t know. It’s also theatrical, and it’s also a performance—but we’re not sure how much is a performance and how much is real.”

    The crew had the added advantage of being able to reach out to Atwood herself for clarification, specifically when it came to how Mary Whitney’s voice would emanate from Grace. “In the book, it’s very ambiguous,” Gadon said. “Does Grace actually sound like Grace? Does Grace actually channel Mary Whitney?”

    Atwood was not coy in her response. “We went directly to Margaret,” she said. “And Margaret said, ‘During the hypnosis, Mary’s voice speaks through Grace.’ It’s so rare that you have that—that line of communication, and also that guidance into the material,” Gadon said.

    The revelation from Atwood led Gadon to work with a dialect coach to match her words to the way Liddiard would say them in character. Gadon had Liddiard record the lines, and practiced repeating them along with the recording.

    “[Rebecca] has such a fascinating voice. It is quite nasally . . . that was the easiest way for me to access it: to go into my nasal passages,” Gadon explained. The effect sometimes surprised her: “Whoa! What voice came out of me?! It was really fun and creepy.”

    “The more specific things can seem, the better they are,” Harron said. “She had this specific model to work on, and that unlocked it. I never anticipated how very scary it would be. But when you heard it, it was like, Oh my god.”

    Harron and Gadon went over the script together several times before filming, with Gadon reading and re-reading it aloud to Harron. The role of Grace was a tall order, especially in Polley’s adaptation, which took a long and winding road to the screen; Polley first tried to option the novel when she was just a teenager. Ultimately, Gadon’s slippery lead performance is central to what makes Alias Grace work. To Harron, honoring the script and the book meant preserving the ambiguity present in both: “You don’t want to settle on one answer with Grace, because then it’s just a puzzle with one answer. The mystery of Grace is part of the meaning of the story.”

    Then again, Gadon laughed, “You can’t just have her in the space of ambiguity as an actor! It’s not really making any choices and decisions.”

    Between them, the director and star developed three modes for Gadon: Good Grace, who is innocent; Bad Grace, who is guilty; and Neutral Grace, who is calmer, wiser, and older. At times, especially during scenes with Simon Jordan, Gadon would film multiple interpretations of the same moment. “The groundwork is done before you roll the film,” Harron explained. “I’d run over to her from the monitor and go, ‘Now do Good Grace’ . . . I’m not trying to get her to find the performance. It’s just subtle calibration.”

    That made the hypnotism scene much easier to enact. The moment when Grace opens her eyes under the veil was electric for Harron: “Her eyes had been closed, but then they open—and it’s a look of such malice,” she said. “That’s the thing about directing . . . It’s so exciting, like, Oh yeah, that’s what it is! You don’t even quite know what it is until you’re actually doing it.”

    Gadon is the type of actress who prepares a lot in advance. In addition to working on her dialect and laying the foundations of performance with Harron, Gadon read Atwood’s book six times. “I kind of went crazy with the book,” she said ruefully. “I was reading the book, and comparing it to the script, and writing down the differences . . . I kept reading it and reading it and reading it, looking for answers. And then I realized that they were never really going to come from the book.”

    The hypnotist’s veil is only just mentioned in Atwood’s novel, but Harron quickly realized how important it would be to the filmed scene. “It was such a key element,” she said. “Much more noticeable than in the book.” Harron considered patterned veils and fabrics of different weights. Ultimately, she was won over by a semi-transparent black veil’s beautiful simplicity.

    For Gadon, being veiled held significance. “There were so many times when I watched the show later where I thought—That is so intense how much I look like the statue of the Veiled Virgin.” But the series gives that iconic image an entirely new context: “[Harron and Polley] take that image that we have seen so often—often in a patriarchal construct—and they say: The veiled woman is something we cannot crack. The veiled woman is something that can be dangerous, something that can express her innermost complicated desires. All of a sudden, they open up this image—and they kind of reclaim it,” Gadon said.

    The shroud helped Gadon perform Mary Whitney’s otherworldly voice as well. “There was something absurd about the scene, and it grounds it by being under the veil,” she said. “So much of Grace Marks’s life was about how people projected things onto her. So having that veil neutralizes everything you’ve learned up until this point, and it allows you to project this idea of Mary onto her, and project this idea of danger, too.”

    It was a frustrating prop, though. “It was driving us nuts, actually,” Harron remembered. “I was worried it was getting wrinkled.” There was “a lot of shaking it out and re-arranging it,” and “making sure there was enough light coming through, so you could see the face, but not too much.” Harron had to juggle a mixture of wide shots and very tight close-ups around the finicky square of fabric, one of which ended up being her favorite: “It’s almost like a silhouette, in profile, under the veil, with just a rim of light around her face,” she said. “If i was designing the poster—if I had to choose a single image that sums up the show—I would have chosen sitting under this black veil, with a little bit of her face peeking out.”

    Gadon was acutely aware, while filming the scene, that her friend and mentor David Cronenberg was also in the audience. (Cronenberg plays Reverend Verringer, an early advocate for Grace’s innocence.) “To look out from under the veil and see him—it was very surreal,” she said.

    Cronenberg cast Gadon in his 2011 film A Dangerous Method, and has directed her in two more films since then. Gadon felt the weight of that history during the scene. “David has probably been one of the most influential directors on my career; he really changed my life. I wouldn’t have a career without him. So much of who I am as an artist has been influenced by him. So to have [them] in that room was just so meta: these women that i grew up admiring, and that informed so much of my own work, in front of a man who single-handedly changed my life. Very much super meta,” Gadon said.

    Harron and Polley also built tension by contrasting the hypnotism against flashbacks and reveries that were filmed and lit in a completely different way. The Kinnear farm, the site of the murders, is suffused with golden light, and Harron used a Steadicam and rich colors to give the place a dreamlike quality. A particularly telling moment comes when we get a glimpse of Grace kissing her alleged co-conspirator, James McDermott (Kerr Logan), amid clotheslines of drying laundry. Harron and her cinematographer, Brendan Steacy, were running out of time when they had to shoot the scene—so rather than try a time-intensive lighting setup for a nighttime shoot, they did a handheld one shot at twilight. “It was just running to make it before dark,” Harron remembered. The scene is one of her favorites, partly because it reveals a version of Grace that the audience hasn’t seen before. “This Grace is mocking, and sort of a vixen. And leading [McDermott] on,” she said.

    The way the series explores the various sides of Grace is what makes it so fascinating—and what made it so challenging for its star. “Everything about Grace Marks is complicated; everything about this job was difficult. And when I finally finished the job, Audible asked me to do the audiobook of Alias Grace. And even that was like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was so hard to read this book out loud! I would laugh to myself doing it—like Jesus Christ, nothing is ever going to be easy with this piece of literature,” Gadon said.

    But, she added, it was worth it. “It’s so classic. The thing you’re the most afraid of becomes the thing you love the most on the other side. Because it does feel like this massive accomplishment.”

    Link to Article

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  • Jun 07 2018 Variety

    Variety Contenders

    “I had to play a housemaid. And [director Mary Harron] is very meticulous in terms of the labor that a housemaid had to participate in. So Mary wanted me to do everything for real. So I went to a pioneer reenactment camp and learned how to do all of the chores for real. Anytime I’m on camera, lugging something or doing laundry, I’m doing it for real.”

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  • Apr 26 2018 Deadline

    Netflix Orders Sci-Fi Drama Series ‘Another Life’ Starring Katee Sackhoff

    EXCLUSIVE: Battlestar Galactica alumna Katee Sackhoff is going back to space as the lead of Another Life. Netflix has given a 10-episode order to the sci-fi drama series, from Alias Grace producer Halfire Entertainment.

    EXCLUSIVE: Battlestar Galactica alumna Katee Sackhoff is going back to space as the lead of Another Life. Netflix has given a 10-episode order to the sci-fi drama series, from Alias Grace producer Halfire Entertainment.

    Created by Aaron Martin (Slasher, Saving Hope, DeGrassi: The Next Generation), who also serves as showrunner, Another Life centers on astronaut Niko Breckinridge (Sackhoff) who is focused on searching for alien intelligence. She leads a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artifact. As Niko and her young crew investigate, they face unimaginable danger on what might very well be a one-way mission.

    Noreen Halpern executive produces for Halfire Entertainment. In addition to the award-winning Netflix original series Alias Grace, her series credits also include Rookie Blue and Haven.

    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock (9336538as)
    Katee Sackhoff
    22nd Annual Art Directors Guild Awards Gala, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 27 Jan 2018

    Netflix Orders Sci-Fi Drama Series ‘Another Life’ Starring Katee Sackhoff

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  • Apr 10 2018 Variety

    Peabody Awards Unveil 60 Nominees for 2017

    By 

    The list of entertainment programs making the nominations cut includes CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery,” NBC’s “The Good Place,” Netflix’s “American Vandal,” FX’s “Legion,” HBO’s “Insecure,” and Netflix’s “Alias Grace.” Other contenders gaining kudos momentum with the Peabody noms include Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

    News and documentary fare in the mix includes HBO’s “The Defiant Ones,” BBC’s “Planet Earth II,” and “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” which aired on the erstwhile Spike TV (now rebranded Paramount Network). The now disgraced Harvey Weinstein was among the original exec producers of “Time” but Peabody officials said his name was not included in the submission on the show from Spike TV.

    A total of more than 1,200 programs were submitted for 2017 Peabody consideration. The nominees will be winnowed by the Peabody jury to 30 winners, to be presented May 19 at the 77th annual Peabody Awardsceremony, hosted by “Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj in New York. The recipient of the inaugural Peabody Career Achievement Award will be unveiled on Thursday.

    The Peabody kudos are administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

    Here is the full list of 2017 Peabody nominees:

    CHILDREN’S & YOUTH PROGRAMMING

    “Andi Mack” Horizon Productions (Disney Channel)

    “A Series of Unfortunate Events” Netflix (Netflix)

    DOCUMENTARY

    “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” A Mitten Media, Motto Pictures, and Kartemquin Films Production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with the Center for Asian American Media and in association with Blue Ice (PBS/WGBH)

    “America ReFramed: Deej” American Documentary, Inc., WORLD Channel, Rooy Media LLC, ITVS (WORLD Channel)

    “Chasing Coral” An Exposure Labs Production (Netflix)

    “City of Ghosts” Amazon Studios, A&E IndieFilms, Our Time Projects, in association with Jigsaw Productions (A&E)

    “Heroin(e)” A Netflix Original Documentary in association with The Center for Investigative Reporting, A Requisite Media Production (Netflix)

    “I Have A Message For You” The New York Times Op-Docs (The New York Times)

    “Indivisible” Fuse Media (Fuse/Linear Broadcast)

    “Last Men in Aleppo” American Documentary | POV, Larm Film (PBS)

    “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” The People’s Poet Media Group, LLC, Thirteen’s American Masters for WNET and ITVS in association with Artemis Rising (PBS/WNET/TV)

    “Newtown” Mile 22 LLC, ITVS, in association with KA Snyder Productions, Cuomo Cole Productions, Artemis Rising and Transform Films (PBS)

    “Planet Earth II” BBC Studios Natural History Unit production, with BBC AMERICA (BBC AMERICA)

    “Strong Island” Yanceville Films, LLC and Louverture Films, LLC (Netflix)

    “The Bad Kids” Low Key Pictures in association with the Filmmaker Fund (PBS)

    “The Defiant Ones” HBO Entertainment and Silverback 5150 Pictures in association with Alcon Television Group (HBO)

    “The Islands and the Whales” Intrepid Cinema, Radiator Film (PBS)

    “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” Spike TV, The Cinemart, Roc Nation (Spike)

    “Tower” Tower Documentary LLC, Go Valley Productions, ITVS, in association with Meredith Vieira Productions and Killer Impact (PBS)

    “Oklahoma City” American Experience (PBS/WGBH Education Foundation)

    ENTERTAINMENT

    “Alias Grace” A Halfire Entertainment Production in association with CBC for Netflix (Netflix)

    American Vandal” CBS Television Studios for Netflix (Netflix)

    “Bala Loca” Chilevision-Turner, Chilean National Television Council, Filmo Estudios (Chilevision-Turner/Netflix)

    “Better Call Saul” Sony Pictures Television, Gran Via Productions (AMC)

    “Halt and Catch Fire” AMC Studios/Gran Via Productions (AMC)

    “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King” Netflix, Art & Industry (Netflix)

    “Insecure” HBO Entertainment in association with Issa Rae Productions (HBO)

    “Jazz Night in America” NPR, WBGO, Jazz at Lincoln Center (NPR)

    “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” HBO Entertainment (HBO)

    “Legion” FX Productions, Marvel Television (FX Networks)

    “One Day at a Time” Sony Pictures Television for Netflix (Netflix)

    “Saturday Night Live: Political Satire 2017” SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video (NBC)

    “Star Trek: Discovery” CBS Television Studios (CBS All Access)

    “The Good Place” Universal Television, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment (NBC)

    “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu, MGM, White Oak Pictures, The Littlefield Company,

    Daniel Wilson Productions (Hulu)

    “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Amazon Studios (Amazon)

    NEWS

    “Big Buses, Bigger Problems: Taxpayers Taken for a Ride” NBC5/KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth (NBC5/KXAS)

    “Charlottesville: Race & Terror” VICE Media (HBO)

    “Cracking the Code” & WVUE-TV, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune/Clear Health Costs “Medical Waste” (WVUE-TV)

    “Fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria” CNN (CNN)

    “Inside Putin’s Russia “ PBS NewsHour (PBS, WETA)

    “Leyla Santiago’s Hurricane Maria Coverage” CNN (CNN)

    “My Reality: A Hidden America” ABC News 20/20 (ABC)

    “Plight of Rohingya Refugees” BBC News (BBC World News)

    “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Strongman-Ramzan Kadyrov” HBO Sports (HBO)

    “The Whistleblower” CBS News 60 Minutes (CBS)

    “USA Gymnastics” CBS News 60 Minutes (CBS)

    PUBLIC SERVICE

    “The Cut: Exploring FGM” Al Jazeera Correspondent (Al Jazeera)

    “Predator In My Phone” R.AGE, Star Media Group (R.AGE)

    “Sex.Right.Now. with Cleo Stiller” Fusion Media Group (FUSION)

    RADIO/PODCAST

    “Ear Hustle” Radiotopia from PRX (Radiotopia from PRX)

    “Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.” NPR and ProPublica (NPR)

    “74 Seconds” Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media (MPR News)

    “S-Town” Serial and This American Life (stownpodcast.org)

    “Seeing White” The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (podcast.cdsporch.org)

    “The Pope’s Long Con” Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Louisville Public Media (Louisville Public Media)

    “The View from Room 205” WBEZ-Chicago Public Media (WBEZ)

    “Uncivil: The Raid” Gimlet Media (Gimlet Media)

    (Pictured: “One Day at a Time,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “The Good Place”)

    http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/peabody-awards-one-day-at-a-time-marvelous-mrs-maisel-star-trek-discovery-1202749009/

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  • Mar 12 2018 Hello! Canada

    Canadian Screen Awards 2018: All the winners

    MARCH 12, 2018

    The Canadian Screen Awards was an unforgettable night as Canada basked in the silver-screen spotlight once again, honouring the best of the country’s work on screens big and small. Author Margaret Atwood, whose novels The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace have been adapted into award-winning TV shows, was given the Board of Directors’ Tribute for aiding in the growth of the Canadian media industry.

    AnneSchitt’s CreekKim’s Convenience and Orphan Black all received statues from the Academy on the TV side, including stars Tatiana MalsanyCatherine O’Hara and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. Sally Hawkins and the film Maudie scored big in the motion picture categories.Rick Mercer Report was given the Academy Icon Award, while Peter Mansbridge took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Scroll down for the complete list of winners…

    FILM

    Best Motion Picture | Meilleur film
    Ava
    The Breadwinner 
    It’s the Heart That Dies Last | C’est La Coeur Qui Meurt en Dernier 
    The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches | La Petite Fille Qui Aimait Trop Les Allumettes 
    WINNER: Maudie 
    Never Steady, Never Still 
    The Ravenous | Les Affixes

    Best Lead Actress, Film
    Mahout Jabbari, Ava
    Denise Fillatrault, It’s the Heart that Dies Last
    Marine Johnson, The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches
    WINNER: Sally Hawkins, Maudie
    Shirley Henderson, Never Steady, Never Still

    Best Lead Actor, Film
    WINNER: Nabil Rajo, Boost
    Gabriel Sabourin, It’s the Heart that Dies Last
    Antoine L’Écuyer, The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches
    Tzi Ma, Meditation Park
    Émile Proulx-Cloutier, We Are the Others

    Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary | Meilleur long métrage documentaire Ted Rogers
    Manic
    A Moon of Nickel and Ice | Sur La Lune de Nickel 
    Resurrecting Hassan 
    WINNER: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World 
    Unarmed Verses

    TELEVISION

    Best Drama Series
    19-12
    WINNER: Anne 
    Mary Kills People 
    Pure 
    Vikings

    Best Comedy Series
    WINNER: Kim’s Convenience
    LetterKenny 
    Michael: Every Day 
    Nirvana the Band and the Show 
    Workin’ Moms

    Best Limited Series or Program
    WINNER: Alias Grace (CBC)
    Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall (YTV)
    Cardinal (CTV)
    The Disappearance (CTV)
    The Kennedys: After Camelot (Bravo)

    Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series
    WINNER: Baroness von Sketch Show (CBC)
    The Beaverton (The Comedy Network)
    Rick Mercer Report (CBC)
    This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC)

    Best Lead Actress, Comedy
    Andrea Bang, Kim’s Convenience
    Jean Youn, Kim’s Convenience
    WINNER: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
    Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
    Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms

    Best Lead Actor, Comedy
    WINNER: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
    Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
    Gerry Dee, Mr. D
    Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
    Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

    Best Lead Actress, Drama
    Amybeth McNulty, Anne
    Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
    WINNER: Tatiana Malsany, Orphan Black
    Meaghan Rath, Rogue
    Jennie Raymond, Sex & Violence

    Best Lead Actor, Drama
    Shawn Doyle, Bellevue
    Richard Short, Mary Kills People
    Brian Markinson, The Romeo Section
    Christopher Heyerdahl, Van Helsing
    WINNER: Alexander Ludwig, Vikings

     

    Link to Article

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  • Mar 11 2018 The Hollywood Reporter

    Canadian Screen Awards: ‘Alias Grace,’ ‘Maudie,’ ‘Anne With an E’ Dominate

    The Netflix/CBC dramas Anne With an E and Alias Grace won big Sunday night at the Canadian Screen Awards, earning multiple honors.

    Anne With an E, which hails from Emmy-winning writer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) and is based on the classic Anne of Green Gables book series, nabbed the trophy for best drama. And the historical drama Alias Grace won for best miniseries, while lead Sarah Gadon was named best dramatic miniseries actress.

    Alias Grace, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, in pre-telecast award-giving earned Sarah Polley a best writing trophy and Mary Harron another for best direction. Celebrated Canadian writer Atwood, who received a career tribute during the ceremony, said the all-female creative team on Alias Grace meant “no one had to deal with the ‘powerful man syndrome'” on set, in an often-repeated reference to the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative during the awards show.

    Anne With an E, which airs as Anne on CBC, had a field-leading 13 nominations going into the Canadian Screen Awards and earlier this week saw R.H. Thomson nab the best supporting dramatic actor prize.

    Another big winner was the Hulu/CTV murder-mystery drama Cardinal, which earned lead Billy Campbell a best dramatic miniseries actor award. Cardinal earned another five trophies in pre-telecast prize-giving, including Allie MacDonald winning for best supporting actress and a slew of craft honors.

    The top acting, series and film prizes at the Canadian Screen Awards were handed out on Sunday night, with CBC’s Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek and Baroness von Sketch Show dominating in the TV comedy categories. Schitt’s Creek‘s Catherine O’Hara won for best comedic actress, and Kim’s Convenience‘s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee was named best comedic actor.

    Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany repeated as best TV drama actress, and Viking‘s Alexander Ludwig was tapped as best dramatic actor.

    On the film front, Maudie won for best movie, while Aisling Walsh took home the best director award and Sherry White collected the best screenplay honor. The biopic about artist Maude Lewis also earned honors for Ethan Hawke (best supporting film actor) and Sally Hawkins (best film actress), as well as for best costume design and editing.

    Remedy actor Nabil Rajo received the best film actor award for his star turn in Boost, while Bahar Nouhian picked up the best supporting film actress award for her role in the Iranian-Canadian drama Ava. “Representation does matter. I waited a very long time to see a character like Hakeem on the big screen,” Rajo, who came to Canada from Eritrea at age 6, told the audience upon accepting his prize.

    The animated feature The Breadwinner, executive produced by Angelina Jolie, was another multiple winner, including best film score honors for Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, while Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World earned four trophies, including for best feature documentary.

    The Canadian Screen Awards, organized by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and hosted by Emma Hunter and Jonny Harris, aired live on the CBC network.

     

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  • Mar 07 2018 CBC News

    CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show, Alias Grace among big winners at Canadian Screen Awards

    Both shows earned 4 nods, while CBC's comedy Schitt's Creek brought home 2

    CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show, Alias Grace among big winners at Canadian Screen Awards

    Both shows earned 4 nods, while CBC’s comedy Schitt’s Creek brought home 2

    Alias Grace, a miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, took four awards including a writing one for Sarah Polley on Sunday at Canadian Screen Awards. (George Pimentel/WIREIMAGE/Getty Images)

    The CTV detective drama Cardinal won a leading five trophies on the second of several nights of the Canadian Screen Awards.

    The series took home hardware including best achievement in casting and best supporting actress for Allie MacDonald at Wednesday’s Toronto gala, which honoured creative fiction storytelling.

    CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show and Alias Grace were next with four awards each.

    Baroness took trophies including best sketch comedy program or series and best writing in its genre.

    Alias Grace, a miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, took awards including a writing one for Sarah Polley and a directing one for Mary Harron.

    Writers for Baroness von Sketch Show are seen after winning best writing in variety or sketch comedy. (George Pimentel/WIREIMAGE/Getty Images)

    Landing three honours was the TVOKids animated children’s series PAW Patrol, which was named best preschool program or series.

    Other winners included Space’s cloning drama Orphan Black, which won two trophies for its final season, including best writing in a drama series.

    CraveTV’s hoser hit Letterkenny won best writing and best direction in a comedy.

    CBC’s comedy Schitt’s Creek also got two nods, including best supporting actress for Emily Hampshire.

    Best direction in a drama series went to Global’s Mary Kills People, which also got a best guest performance nod for Steven McCarthy.

    YTV’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was also a two-time winner, including best animated program or series.

    Other two-time winners were History’s Vikings, TVOKids’ Odd Squad, and YTV’s L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, which earned a trophy for star Ella Ballentine.

    Another series featuring the heroine from L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel, CBC/Netflix’s Anne, was up for a leading 13 trophies when the nominations were announced in January.

    CBC’s comedy Kim’s Convenience also lost out on several awards but won in the category of best supporting or guest actor, for Andrew Phung. (George Pimentel/WIREIMAGE/Getty Images)

    On Wednesday it lost out on several of those awards, but it did win one, for best supporting actor for R. H. Thomson.

    CBC’s comedy Kim’s Convenience also lost out on several awards but won in the category of best supporting or guest actor, for Andrew Phung.

    Andrew Phung: ‘I pulled a Drake!’

    00:00 00:52

    The actor-comedian, who hosted the Canadian Screen Awards Creative Fiction Storytelling gala, talks balancing emcee duties and being a winner himself for Kim’s Convenience. 0:52

    Comedy star Martin Short, a previous Canadian Screen Awards host, was also a winner Wednesday — best performance in the animation category, for The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Halloween!

    The big and final awards show will take place Sunday at the Sony Centre of Performing Arts and air on CBC at 8 p.m., except 9 p.m. AT and 9:30 p.m. NT.

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  • Jan 16 2018

    2018 Canadian Screen Award Nominations

  • Jan 03 2018 The New Yorker

    What We’re Watching on TV

    “Alias Grace”

    This Netflix series is based on a novel by Margaret Atwood from 1996, which in turn is based on the true story of a murder that took place in 1843 in the British colony of Upper Canada. Grace Marks, a sixteen-year-old housemaid, and James McDermott, a farmhand, were both convicted of killing their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, who were found dead in the cellar of Kinnear’s house—Kinnear shot, and Montgomery beaten and strangled. Marks and McDermott were caught after fleeing the property with a load of stolen goods, and McDermott was later hanged. Marks, probably because of her youth and good looks, got life in prison.

    The show takes place years after the murders. A committee has formed to try to get Grace acquitted and brings in a flashy young psychiatrist whose job it is to fill in her now patchy memories of the killings. The psychiatrist’s sessions with Grace, which are calm and civil but psychologically fraught, frame the story. It is unclear whether Grace or McDermott actually committed the murders. Grace herself seems not to know, and her recollections are intertwined with other traumas—childhood abuse; the death of a friend in scandalous circumstances; the unremitting sexualization of her presence in the world as she makes her way through it, pretty and alone.

    The obvious thing to say about “Alias Grace” is that its examination of the ways in which women navigate the relationship between sex and power feels very of the moment. (Last year, the director, Sarah Polley, wrote about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein and other men in the film industry for the Times.) But I don’t want to emphasize its topicality at the risk of passing over its other fascinations: the way the story moves fluidly from whodunnit to psychological thriller to political commentary to ghost story to coming-of-age tale, and back again; the minutely expressive face of Sarah Gadon, the actress who fully embodies the character of Grace as an all-telling narrator and the central cipher in the story she relates; the delicate portrayal of anger, anguish, jealousy, joy, fear, and desire, and a multitude of ambiguities in between. Please watch it. —Andrea DenHoed

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  • Dec 11 2017 The Atlantic

    The 20 Best TV Shows of 2017

    The new and returning series that stood out the most

    By Sophie Gilbert

    How to summarize television in 2017? While no descriptor captures the year’s diverse offerings, one word crops up more than any other: Netflix. The streaming service’s throw-content-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks strategy generated more than 1,000 hours of original TV and movies this year, and though plenty were duds, Netflix also seemed to spawn more critical hits than any other provider.

    What this year might have lacked in offbeat ingenuity (Atlanta and Fleabag are scheduled to return next year), it made up for in star power, including an array of heavyweights from the film world. Jean-Marc Vallée. Reese Witherspoon. Nicole Kidman. Spike Lee. Sarah Polley. David Fincher. James Franco. Steven Soderbergh. Justin Simien. With seemingly endless resources on offer alongside almost total artistic freedom, it’s hard not to see still more creative talent being drawn toward TV in 2018 and beyond.

    In the interests of discovery (and because so many of the year’s most intriguing shows were debuts), the list below pays most attention to 10 exceptional new shows of 2017, a staggering eight of which premiered in the U.S. on streaming services. It also applauds 10 stellar returning shows. After all, 2018 (and Netflix’s record-breaking $8 billion budget) is just around the corner.

    Alias Grace

    Sarah Polley’s six-part CBC/Netflix adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel came in the midst of a historic reckoning with the abuse and harassment of women. Among the questions this moment provoked: How can stories force people to hear them? The Canadian actress Sarah Gadon gives an incandescent performance as Grace Marks, a convicted 19th-century murderess whose delicate bearing and absorbing narrative convince many of her innocence. More interesting than the reliability of Grace’s stories, though, is the way she transforms them into a kind of agency she otherwise lacks.

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