The nominees for the Canadian Screen Awards have been released, and Native films and people are all over the lists. This is most evident in the Best Actress nominations, where two out of five of the candidates are First Nations actresses in Native-themed films: Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Mohawk, gets the nod for her performance in Rhymes for Young Ghouls, and Cara Gee, Ojibway, of Empire of Dirt is up for the award as well.
The "Canadian Screen Awards" have come about due to a 2013 merger of the Gemini and Genie awards, which were given for achievement in Canadian television and film, respectively, and equivalent to the Emmy and Oscar Awards handed out in the United States. The 2014 edition will be the second under the new arrangement.
Native cinema makes a strong showing in the Best Motion Picture category, with both Empire of Dirt and Maina nominated. Empire of Dirt notches a third nod in a major film category with the nomination of Jennifer Podemski (who is also a producer of the film) for Best Supporting Actress. Empire of Dirt's writer, Jennifer Masters, is also nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay.
Native women lead the way in the television nominations a well, with Michelle Thrush, Cree, up for a Best Lead Actress award and Cheri Maracle, Six Nations, up for Best Supporting Actress. Both are nominated for their performances in Blackstone, which is itself nominated for Best Dramatic Series and Best Writing in a Dramatic Series awards. Thrush won the Best Lead Actress Gemini award in 2011 for her performance as Gail Stoney in Blackstone.
Two documentaries from Indian country, We Were Children and The People of the Kattawapiskak River, will compete for Canadian Screen Awards, although not in the same category.
The 2014 Canadian Screen Awards, hosted by Martin Short, will be broadcast March 9 on CBC. To learn more about the awards and Canadian Screen Week, visit the official Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.