English-Canadian films dominate awards

For the first time in years, it looks like English-Canadian pics rather than French-Canadian ones will dominate the Genies, the Canuck film awards.

The leading contenders are David Cronenberg’s London-set mob thriller “Eastern Promises” and Roger Spottiswoode’s Rwandan-set drama “Shake Hands With the Devil” with 12 nominations each for the March 3 awards.

The other top nominees, announced on Monday, are Sarah Polley’s Alzheimer’s drama “Away From Her” with seven noms; Bruce McDonald’s troubled-teen drama “The Tracey Fragments” with six noms; and, with five nods apiece, Stephane Lafleur’s black comedy “Continental, a Film Without Guns” and Francois Girard’s romantic epic “Silk.”

The leading French-language nominee is “Continental.”

The contenders for best picture are Denys Arcand’s “Days of Darkness,” “Away From Her,” “Continental,” “Eastern Promises” and “Shake Hands With the Devil.”

Two of the best actress contenders are also Oscar hopefuls: Julie Christie is nominated for the Genie for actress for “Away From Here” while Halifax teen Ellen Page, Oscar nommed for “Juno,” is up for “The Tracey Fragments.”

In the best actor race Viggo Mortensen is up for the Genie for his Oscar-nominated role in “Eastern Promises.” He is up against Roy Dupuis for “Shake Hands With the Devil,” Marc Labreche for “Days of Darkness,” Claude Legault for “3 Little Pigs” and Gordon Pinsent for “Away From Her.”

The Genie ceremony will be held at the Metro Convention Center in Toronto and will be broadcast on the E! Television Network in Canada and also on Canada’s version of IFC.

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