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Orphan Black leads the way in this year’s Canadian Screen Awards nominations

Tatiana Maslany is the star of new sci-fi series Orphan Black. She plays a character who encounters a series of lookalikes.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Canada's reputed divided identity is reflected in this year's Canadian Screen Awards nominations, announced Monday morning in simultaneous press conferences in Montreal and Toronto. Leading the television side with 14 nominations is Orphan Black, a debut science-fiction series on the Space channel starring 28-year-old breakout actress Tatiana Maslany as a woman who plays several characters who are clones.

On the film side, leading with 10 nominations is another split-identity thriller, the Denis Villeneuve-directed Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as both a history professor and a movie actor who is his exact double.

This is the sophomore year of the Canadian Screen Awards, which combines the previous Genie film awards and the Gemini television awards into one package, along with a digital-media component. The goal is to add some red-carpet glamour to the Canadian television industry, while recognizing the increasing blurred lines between media. (The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, which administers the awards, continues to hold a separate ceremony, the Prix Gémeaux, honouring French-Canadian television.).

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Last year's inaugural show, broadcast on CBC last March, had strong ratings, with 2.9-million Canadians seeing the event, and an average audience of 789, 000. It was hosted by SCTV and Saturday Night Live alumnus Martin Short, who will return again for this year's March 9 two-hour broadcast. This year's focus will be the 65th anniversary of Canadian screen awards: The first film awards, in 1959, were hosted by Mary Pickford, the Toronto-born screen star known as "America's Sweetheart" and who was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the Oscars.

In total, this year's awards include 123 categories (94 television, 22 film and seven digital media). In addition, the Academy has announced 10 Academy Special Awards, including the Golden Reel winner for best homegrown box office. This year's winner is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a young-adult fantasy flick that earned $5.1-million at the Canadian box office in 2013.

On the television side, the critically acclaimed Orphan Black (which has been renewed for a second season on Space, starting on April 19), is closely followed by 12 nominations for the HBO Canada comedy-drama, Less Than Kind. That series stars Jesse Camacho as a teenager in a warm but dysfunctional Jewish family in Winnipeg. Other contenders include Rookie Blue with nine nominations (including two digital), Call Me Fitz, Flashpoint and Seed, with eight each. The Borgias, CBC News: The National and CTV National News earned seven nominations apiece.

Best television drama nominees included Blackstone (APTN), Bomb Girls (Global), Flashpoint (CTV), Motive (CTV) and Orphan Black (Space). The comedy contenders are Call Me Fitz (TMN/Movie Central), Gavin Crawford's Wild West (CBC), Mr. D (CBC), Seed (Citytv) and Tiny Plastic Men (Super Channel).

The film side, which was dominated by Quebec directors, saw Denis Villeneuve's Enemy win nominations for best film, best director, best screenplay and best actor for Jake Gyllenhaal. Next came Xavier Dolan's Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm), adapted from the stage play by Michel Marc Bouchard. Neither has yet opened theatrically. Earning six nominations each were Canada's foreign-language Oscar nominee Gabrielle, the aboriginal drama Maina and The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bone. Five nominations each went to Le Démantèlement (The Dismantling), Empire of Dirt and The F Word.

The seven digital categories include three awards for cross-platform projects (Children and Youth, Fiction and Non-fiction), best original program or series (Fiction and Non-fiction), best interactive program and series, and best performance in a digital production.

Find the full nominee list here.

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Editor's note: Orphan Black will be renewed on  April 19. This version has been corrected.

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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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