Although the world has been buzzing about the Oscars all week, there was another awards show that took place here in our own backyard. On Saturday night, The Carlu was filled with some of Canada’s best television, radio and film talent for the 10th ACTRA Awards. For those who don’t know, ACTRA (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists) is the union that represents Canada’s top professional performers. The Awards Gala evening was hosted by Elvira Kurt with music by Rauol and The Big Time and brought out many of Canada’s performers, nominees and fellow actors casting directors, agents, directors and producers.
We love to support local talent, and some of the winners are young professionals themselves who have managed to excel in one of the most cut-throat and competitive careers.
The winners were:
ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance – Voice
Billy MacLellan (Afghanada)
Billy MacLellan, a 38-year-old native of Cape Breton who resides in Toronto, won in his category for his performance in “Afghanada” episode The Promise. “Afghanada” is a popular CBC Radio series that ended its run late last year after six seasons that investigated the war in Afghanistan through the viewpoint of Canadian soldiers. He portrayed Pvt. Lucas (Chucky) Manson in the series. MacLellan has appeared in numerous Canadian television and film projects, commercials and theatre and has an assortment of voice-over experience. In addition to his ACTRA award, MacLellan was nominated for a Gemini Award in 2006 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role Dramatic Series in ReGenesis.
ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance – Female
Amy Price-Francis (King)
Toronto native Amy Price plays a homicide detective in her current starring role on King as Detective Sergeant Jessica King, the head of Toronto’s Major Crimes Task Force. Season two premiered on Showcase last night. At 36 years old, Amy has been met with great success both here in Canada and in the United States (not an easy task for Canadian performers) and spends her time between Toronto and Los Angeles. Amy’s film credits include: Cake and Alien Tracker. Her TV credits include: Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Chicago Code, Life Unexpected, The Mentalist, Nip/Tuck, The Cleaner, 24, Californication, Medium, Rumours, Corner Gas, Tilt, Show Me Yours, Snakes & Ladders, Train 48 and Tracker.
Rick Mercer was presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2012 Award of Excellence.
Actor Peter Keleghan presented comedian Rick Mercer with the ACTRA Toronto’s 2012 Award of Excellence. Although slightly past the “YP category,” Rick Mercer is an inspiring example for young professionals with his involvement in the Canadian entertainment industry, culture and charity. The host of CBC’s Rick Mercer Report is a multiple Gemini Award-winner and has enjoyed a stable and influential career. He has advocated charities such as Spread the Net, Casey House, Walk for Life and 2010’s It Gets Better viral video campaign to help LGBT youth overcome bullying and relay the message that after high school it does, in fact, get better.
ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance – Male
Christopher Plummer (Barrymore)
This veteran Canadian actor won the ACTRA award for outstanding performance by a male for his role as John Barrymore in last year’s production of the play Barrymore in Toronto. Eighty-two-year-old Plummer, however, was not there to receive his award because he was in Los Angeles on the eve of Sunday’s Academy Awards, where he became the oldest actor ever to receive an Oscar for his supporting role in Beginners. “If Christopher Plummer had the year he’s been having 30 years ago, we would say he’d been having a good year. But to have the kind of year he’s having at this stage of his career is an inspiration to his fellow actors,” ACTRA Toronto president Heather Allin said in a release. He certainly is an inspiration for young professionals. More than 40 years after his memorable role in The Sound of Music, his six-decade long acting career has finally been awarded with a long-overdue Oscar and much deserved praise by fellow performers. Last month, he received a Screen Actors’ Guild Award and a Golden Globe for Beginners.
The success of Canadian actors both here and in Hollywood serves as a constant reminder among aspiring Canadian performers that all the acting classes, bartending and dedication can pay off, whether at an early age, like it did for Juno’s Ellen Page or Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev, or, in the case of Christopher Plummer, at 82 years old.