Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gemini 25 gala hosted by Glee's Cory Monteith

Last night in Toronto, all the movers and shakers (and shmoozers & fakers?) of the Canadian television industry converged upon the Winter Garden Theatre for the 25th annual Gemini Awards (Gemini 25) celebrating the best of the past year in Canadian television.

As attendees arrived, it’s rather hilarious to note that “dozens of fans” lined the red carpet too. Ok, seriously… “dozens” of fans? Yup, that’s what the Canadian Press reported.

It’s just so funny to me, but I guess that’s Canada for ya. If this were an entertainment awards ceremony in LA, London or Mumbai I’m pretty sure there would be hundreds if not thousands of fans that would turn out for an event like this. But at least the fans at the Gemini's looked like they had fun interacting with Cory Monteith:

Then again, most of the programming on at least two of Canada’s three national TV networks offer American shows in the vast majority of time slots. Yes, I’m looking at you Global and CTV. The CBC isn't guiltless either thanks to their abundance of Ghost Whisperer reruns lately.

So, really then, why should there be any more than “dozens” of fans who show up to see Canadian TV talent that doesn’t get nearly the push and publicity that goes on in other international TV markets.

Gemini 25 was hosted by Cory Monteith, star of ‘Glee’, who was born in Calgary and raised on the west coast in Vancouver. As host, he had a relaxed, easy-going and fun, self-deprecating take on his being chosen to host the Gemini’s.

SIDEBAR: Global TV has a good chat session on their blog with Cory Monteith where he discusses his role as host of Canada’s Gemini Awards.

The first award of the night was for Best Host in a Sports Program. It went to Brian Williams for his coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. I have to agree, he was solid as always.

His win reminded me of a great bit he did on air with NBC’s Brian Williams during the 2010 Olympics which centred on the two national broadcasters from different countries who share the same name. It’s on YouTube, here.

Rick Mercer handed out the award for Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy to the cast of 22 Minutes. Mercer's segment included fun, clever references to the theme from that old Canadian TV stinker from the 80s, The Littlest Hobo.

Shall I digress for but a moment? Alrighty then, if you insist. Mercer's talk of The Littlest Hobo reminded me how in elementary school I lied to my friend Heather and told her my Dad was the executive producer of The Littlest Hobo. Ha! The reason I did it was because she showed me a photo of what she claimed was a secret room in her house. I guess I felt like I needed to measure up with something equally cool. Goddess knows why I thought “The Littlest Hobo” brought the cool factor. In the end, we both admitted our little white lies.

Back to the Gemini Awards, the trophies for supporting actors in a dramatic series went to Catherine Disher for The Border and to Cle Bennett for his role as a gangster on The Line. During his acceptance speech, Bennett spoke out to real-world gangsters and told his ‘gangsta brothers to put down the guns, take an acting class.’

The Gemini’s for leading actors in a dramatic role went to Caroline Cave for Cra$h & Burn and to Robert Carlyle for Stargate Universe who gave thanks to a fantastic production team and crew in Vancouver. I guess his win proves that you don’t have to be Canadian to win a Gemini, eh. Oddly it took me a second to realize where I know him from, since I don’t watch Stargate Universe. But of course we do all know Carlyle from the Trainspotting and The Full Monty movies to name just a couple of his previous well-known works.

The featured live performance of the night was given by Elvis Costello featuring Feist and Ron Sexsmith. I don't even know what song they did. It was boring.

Nina Dobrev, former star of Degrassi and current co-star on Vampire Diaries appeared at Gemini 25 – looking tres gorge, I might add – to present the Academy’s tribute to Degrassi for its amazing 30 years of storytelling.

There was a terrific video retrospective of Degrassi featuring ancient and recent footage from the show and interview clips with former cast members including Amanda Stepto who played Spike in the 80’s. Spike ruled, and her teenage pregnancy storyline was so ground-breaking at the time.

Somebody put the tribute up on YouTube. The audio quality ain’t the best, but it’s totally worth watching in case you didn’t catch it last night during the telecast awards ;-)

It struck me as kinda weird that Degrassi creator, Linda Schuyler, wasn’t invited up to the stage to receive their achievement award. It would’ve been nice to hear what she had to say about Degrassi.

Somewhere along the way, Grace Park showed up to present an award. She used to act regularly in Canada in such shows as The Border and Battlestar Galactica though is now on the American TV revival of "Hawaii Five-O", which of course co-stars the devastatingly yummy Scott Caan. The fact that she gets to see Scott Caan everyday automatically makes her a bitch ;-)

I kid, I kid. But do I wonder if she was sending a Carol Burnett-inspired message to her Mom by tugging on her ear like that!

CBC's Dragon’s Den was nominated last night and was also the focus of a pre-taped comedy bit featuring hosts of a slew of Canadian TV shows pitching their new business ideas to the Dragon's Den panel.

The bit featured hosts like Hana Gartner from the Fifth Estate; Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy from MTV’s The After Show, and Cheryl Hickey from Entertainment Tonight Canada. Among all their "ideas", there was one fun idea, labelled as the GAYHL (Gay Hockey League). It was of course pitched by Trevor Boris who I always thought was so funny on MuchMusic’s Video on Trial.

Speaking of comedy, the Gemini for Best Writing in a Comedy Series went to Less Than Kind which of course airs on HBO Canada. The show also won for Best Comedy Series.

Geri Hall from 22 Minutes appeared as a presenter. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but can I just say that she has got to have the MOST annoying voice in the history of Canadian television. It’s worse than Casey from Mr. Dressup. In fact, Geri Hall’s voice even makes Kathy Griffin’s voice sound like angels playing harps beside gentle ocean surf while purring kittens make babies laugh softly.

The Gemini for Best Talk Series went to Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… I’m not surprised his show won. While accepting the award, Costello said he feels “quite Canadian”. He said when he goes out to “the shops” in Vancouver people of all ages tell him they like the show. David Furnish - who is Costello’s executive producer and Elton John’s husband - accepted the award on stage with Costello.

The Gemini Award winner for Best Dramatic Series was… The Tudors! Technically, it won for Season 3 although Season 4 is currently airing on the CBC.

As with all televised Canadian awards shows, when the camera pans the audience, I inevitably wonder, "who are all those people?" Behold...

There is a slew of "after-party" pics on the Gemini's facebook, like the one below, if you feel like gawking ;-)

My fave part of the Gemini's was the Top 25 Canadian TV Shows list over the past 25 years. It's on the web or you can just read it next:


25 The Newsroom

24 The New Music

23 Traders

22 The Nature of Things

21 Cod Co

20 DaVinci’s Inquest

19 Slings & Arrows

18 Made in Canada

17 Wayne and Shuster

16 This Hour Has 22 Minutes

15 North of 60

14 Rick Mercer Report

13 Kids In The Hall

12 Trailer Park Boys

11 Beachcombers

10 The Friendly Giant

9 Corner Gas

8 Being Erica

7 Due South

6 Holmes on Homes

5 Durham County

4 Anne of Green Gables (Megan Follows FTW!)

3 Mr. Dressup (Casey and Finnigan FTW! but I now think Casey looks really creepy with his orange yarn hair and huge red dots on his cheeks - kind of like Stuart on Mad TV)

2 Flashpoint

and the Number 1 fave TV show is...

1 Degrassi

I think Gemini 25 was best summed up by THIS prop and gesture from 22 Minutes' Shaun Majumder:

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