Getting a part on CBC comedy Schitt's Creek is just like finding a golden ticket in your Willy Wonka chocolate bar, as it gives you access to an award-winning side of the TV industry that many only dream of – and that includes comedian Steve Patterson, who hosted the second Canadian Screen Awards (CSA) gala on Mar. 9.
In his opening monologue at Toronto's Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, the Canadian funnyman said, "These awards mean something ladies and gentlemen. I don't know exactly what they mean because I've never won one, but I have been nominated for two..." Although he did joke that the CSAs had given him something else to appreciate: "I'm grateful to have a paying gig on a Wednesday in March."
Many Schitt's Creek stars, however, do know what these awards mean. Several members of the cast and crew took home prizes, including supporting stars Chris Elliot and Emily Hampshire, and others are expected to do the same during Sunday's live broadcast.
Chris was unable to attend, but show star and co-creator Eugene Levy accepted on his behalf. "If Chris were here he would be on his seventh martini and he wouldn't care if he won or not," Eugene joked, before continuing on a more serious note. "Chris Elliot is one of the funniest guys I've met in my entire life. I've been admiring him since the early 80s."
Eugene's acceptance was immediately followed by another win for the show, which is nominated for an impressive 14 awards this CSA season, and took home six Wednesday night. Winner Emily Hampshire even had competition in her category – Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role or Guest Role in a comedic series - from fellow Schitt's Creek actress Jennifer Robertson.
Director Paul Fox also earned a trophy for his work on the episode "The Cabin." "This is a ridiculously fun set to work on," he said during his speech. "I'd really like to thank Eugene and Dan Levy for inviting me to join their party."
One of the names behind the celebrated party even went on to win a prize of his own – not for acting, but writing. "Oh goodness," Dan Levy said as he took the stage for "Honeymoon," the episode of Schitt's Creek he penned. "Thank you for this. The episode was particularly special to us. It dealt with love, it dealt with sexuality and it dealt with acceptance."
"When I’m writing about black history or the black experience I’m not just writing about them, I’m writing about all of Canada because the black experience is the Canadian experience and vice versa," said writer Lawrence Hill, who saw the TV adaptation of his award-winning novel The Book of Negroes take home nine prizes, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series – awarded to Lyriq Bent – and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series to Aunjanue Ellis.
"Canada is still a country that encourages the arts and encourages pluralistic expression and disagreement, which is a good thing so I feel very proud to be in this country," Lawrence tells Hello! Canada.
A special honour went to Canadian actress Wendy Crewson (The Santa Clause, Saving Hope), who was presented with the lifetime achievement Earle Grey Award for her impressive body of work. The Social 's Lainey Lui introduced the star, calling her "incomparable" and "incredible" before spilling that it's just a few weeks before the Wendy's 60th. "Sorry, but you look so good," Lainey said.
As an emotional Wendy took the stage – also to a standing ovation and rapturous applause – she said "thank you Lainey for announcing my age there... No I'm really proud to be 60." Of receiving the academy's special honour, Wendy exclusively told Hello! Canada "I'm shaking, I'm amazed and overwhelmed by this."
Ivan Fecan was also keen to convey is patriotic pride during his acceptance of the Academy Board of Director's Tribute. Following a touching and personal introduction from journalist and news anchor Lloyd Robertson, the behind-the-scenes TV man, who received a standing ovation, said "it's always nice to be recognized but when it's at home it's special... I'm a lucky man."