"Away From Her" dominates Canada's Genie Awards

TORONTO Tue Mar 4, 2008 2:41am EST

1 of 8. Actor Gordon Pinsent (L) and director Sarah Polley hold their awards for their work in 'Away From Her' at the 28th annual Genie Awards in Toronto March 3, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - The film "Away from Her" was the big winner on Monday night at Canada's Genie Awards, winning seven statuettes, including best picture, best actor, best actress and best director for first-time filmmaker Sarah Polley.

Polley, 29, a longtime darling in the Canadian acting scene, also took home a Genie statuette for best adapted screenplay and won the Claude Jutra Award, recognizing outstanding achievement by a first-time feature film director.

"The ridiculousness of me winning this award is not lost on me ... this is totally absurd but thanks," said a humbled Polley after accepting the award for best director.

Gordon Pinsent took home the best actor award for his role as a man trying to cope with the institutionalization of his wife due to Alzheimer's disease in "Away From Me."

Pinsent's on-screen partner, Julie Christie, won for best actress, and Kristen Thomson won for best supporting actress.

Director David Cronenberg's dark Russian mob film, "Eastern Promises," also took home seven awards, including best supporting actor for Armin Mueller-Stahl and best original screenplay for Steve Knight.

Two words heard often during the evening were "Kill bill," followed by "C10."

The reference was to a bill drafted by Canada's Conservative government that would deny tax credits, and effectively kill the production of any film or television show deemed offensive or not in the public's best interest.

"Censorship has had a little work done and is trying to make a comeback," said host Sandra Oh of TV's Grey's Anatomy, to her biggest applause of the night.

"I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very Canadian to me."

Her comments were echoed by retired Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who led the United Nation's mission in Rwanda and whose experiences the Genie-nominated film "Shake Hands with the Devil" was based on.

Dallaire, now a Canadian senator, pointed out that Bill C10 still had not made it through the Senate and could still be amended.

"Shake Hands with the Devil" was nominated for 12 awards, but was almost shut out, taking home only best original song.

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