Canada prides itself on that fact that it's a mosaic of people and cultures, so it makes sense that the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards (CSA) on Sunday night celebrated what this country is all about: diversity.
Not only did women win big at this year's awards, but productions that told diverse stories were also highly recognized.
The standout winner of the night, by far, was the biopic "Maudie," which tells the story of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis. The film took home seven trophies, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins also won Best Actress for her role as Lewis, and Ethan Hawke took home a Best Supporting Actor award for playing Lewis' husband.
Continuing the female honours, CBC's "Anne" won Best Drama Series. Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier created the "Anne of Green Gables" reboot, which stars 16-year-old Amybeth McNulty as the iconic Anne Shirley.
Canada's beloved Margaret Atwood also attended the CSAs and was honoured with the Academy Board of Directors' Tribute. Naturally, the acclaimed author took the time to speak out on an important issue: #AfterMeToo.
The Canadian initiative works to provide resources to sexual violence support services across the country and bring the Me Too movement to Canada.
At the CSAs, Atwood noted that she would donate personally to the #AfterMeToo fund as well as donate the proceeds from two of her upcoming events in April.
In addition to these winning women was the celebration of diversity at the awards show. Similar to last year, representation was the talk of the night as CBC's "Kim's Convenience" won Best Comedy Series and its star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee won Best Lead Actor in a comedy for a second year in a row.
"It is a time of change. Audiences are hungry. Representation matters. The power of this medium cannot be ignored," the 46-year-old actor, who plays Appa, told reporters. "When we set this example and audiences see themselves reflected, it makes a big difference."
"Representation matters. When communities see themselves reflected onscreen, it means they've moved from the margins into the forefront; it gives them a voice."—Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, KIM'S CONVENIENCE #CdnScreenAwardspic.twitter.com/yT2zjjlh8T— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) March 12, 2018
Lee's words echo his sentiments from last year's CSA acceptance speech. Talking about the importance of the show's portrayal of an immigrant family on TV, he said, "It normalizes us, and it shows people that we might have some cultural differences, but when it comes to family, we are all the same."
Fans on Twitter were thrilled about the wins for "Kim's Convenience" and applauded Lee for his words on representation.
.@bitterasiandude Absolutely representation matters! Thank you for giving us Asians a voice.— Rusty Kitty (@Rustykitty65) March 12, 2018
I just wanted to get on Twitter to say how elated I am that @bitterasiandude and Kim's won. Last season was maybe the best written shows in the history of Canadian television. Just over the moooon. Thank you for making me feel so proud of Canada. @jean_yoon@andrewphung@SimuLiu— MatthewPa (@MatthewPa1) March 12, 2018
And finally, the CSAs highlighted Indigenous stories in the documentary category. Gord Downie's "The Secret Path" — about 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack who died after running away from a residential school in 1966 — won for Best Social-Political Documentary, and "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World" — about how indigenous musicians influenced pop culture — won three awards, including Best Feature-Length Documentary.
"It's rare when you get to tell a story about Indigenous people that is surprising and not known. There are stories that none of us know and all of these stories are coming out now," said "Rumble" director Catherine Bainbridge, according to CBC News.
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