Polley picture ties 'Promises' with seven wins

TORONTO — David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises” and Sarah Polley’s “Away From Her” dominated Monday’s Genie Awards, with each picking up seven trophies and the latter nabbing best picture at Monday’s annual ceremony honoring Canadian film.

It was a triumphant night for Polley, 29, who also won the director and adapted screenplay nods for her reworking of an Alice Munro short story and collected the Claude Jutra Award for first feature.

“Away From Her’s” Julie Christie put an actress Genie beside the Golden Globe for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. Christie’s co-star, Gordon Pinsent, beat out the Oscar-nominated Viggo Mortensen (“Eastern Promises”) for actor.

Armin Mueller-Stahl won supporting actor for his portrayal of a Russian mob boss in Cronenberg’s London-set chiller, while Kristen Thompson’s turn as a sympathetic nurse in “Away From Her” earned her the supporting actress prize.

“Eastern Promises” also landed original screenplay (Steven Knight), cinematography (Peter Suschitzky), editing (Ronald Sanders), original score (Howard Shore), sound editing and overall sound trophies.

Zombie comedy “Fido” scooped art direction, and the Keira Knightley starrer “Silk” won the costume awards.

French-language films, which have dominated the Genies in previous years, were almost completely shut out in 2008 with the exception of live-action short drama “Apres tout.” Oscar-nominated “Madame Tutli-Putli,” a National Film of Canada production, won for animated short.

The 28th annual Genie Awards at the Metro Toronto Convention Center were hosted again by Sandra Oh and broadcast on Canada’s E! and IFC cable channels.

Last week a minor controversy broke out after Montreal-born director Jason Reitman complained that his Oscar-nominated “Juno” — shot in Canada with Canadian crew and stars, including Ellen Page — was shut out of the Genies. The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television quickly issued a statement explaining the film had not been submitted.

Films are eligible for Genie consideration only if they are Canadian as defined by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office.

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