‘Barbarian’ pillages Genies

Most-nommed 'Lewis' picks up only one nod

TORONTO — Oscar winner “The Barbarian Invasions” took home six Genie Awards Saturday, including best film and direction and screenplay prizes for Denys Arcand.

The Genies are Canada’s top film awards.

“Barbarian Invasions” lead thesp Remy Girard took the Genie for male performance. Marie-Josee Croze, who took top acting honors at Cannes last year for the pic, and Stephane Rousseau won in the supporting categories.

The sequel to Arcand’s “Decline of the American Empire,” “Barbarian Invasions” preemed at the 2003 Cannes film fest, where it took two awards, and went on to win Canada’s first foreign-language film Oscar in February. “It’s the perfect year,” Arcand told reporters.

Other multiple Genie award winners were Guy Maddin’s “The Saddest Music in the World,” which received awards for editing, costume and music; Norman Jewison’s “The Statement,” for sound and sound editing; and Scott Smith’s “Falling Angels,” which took the prizes for art direction and original song.

Jean-Francois Pouliot’s local B.O. hit “Seducing Doctor Lewis,” which led the nominations with 11, took home just one award, for cinematography. “The Snow Walker,” from Charles Martin Smith, which received nine noms, and Richard Kwietniowski’s “Owning Mahowny,” which received four, both went home empty-handed.

Several winners got political at the awards ceremony in Toronto on Saturday night. Sarah Polley, who pocketed the actress statuette for “My Life Without Me,” called for a quota system on Canuck bigscreens. Few English-language films play for more than a week or two in a handful of theaters across the country; thus, most Canadians never get to see them.

In accepting a special award for his “unwavering commitment” to Canadian film, veteran producer-distributor Peter Simpson (“Prom Night”) took Telefilm Canada to task for retaining Hollywood agency CAA to help the Canadian industry. He urged the government funding agency to be more aggressive in protecting Canadian producers in the face of co-production treaty changes with the U.K.

Host Scott Thompson of Kids in the Hall was channeling Billy Crystal in his opening spoof of the nominated films. Thesp told journalists after the show that he has returned to Canada after being offered too many “boring gay guy” roles in Hollywood.