Canadian Awards “The Genies” Snub Juno and Make A Joke of Itself In The Process

Canada rules. I love Canada and I love being a Canadian. Having said that, some of the world’s greatest stupidity comes from Canada too. Take for example the snubbing the Genies have bestowed upon Juno.

It was just proclaimed that Juno is not eligable for the Genie awards because even though Ellen Page and Michael Cera are Canadian, director Jason Reitman is Canadian, it was filmed in Canada and had pretty much all Canadian crew and cast…. the Genies have decided Juno isn’t Canadian enough.

The rules of the Genies dictate that what makes a movie “Canadian”, is where the money comes from to make it. That makes sense that to a degree, but only to a point.

Jason Reitman expresses his disbelief this way (from the good folks over at Cinematical):

Reitman says: “how are we not eligible for a Genie when David Cronenberg’s film about Russians living in London shot in England with a British crew and British cast is eligible? I’m sorry, but somebody is going to have to explain that to me; I don’t get it.” Well, I get it, but it’s a massively flawed rationale — as Etan Vlessing says: “Leave it to other awards shows to honor filmmaking excellence, whatever its origins. The Genies celebrate government support.”

This is nothing short of a giant humiliation and a black eye on the Genies. Shame on them… shame on them. As a Canadian film blogger, I’ll tell you right now I am humiliated that my own country’s awards show is pulling stupidity like this. I am ashamed of the Genies and we won’t be giving it any coverage here.

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45 thoughts on “Canadian Awards “The Genies” Snub Juno and Make A Joke of Itself In The Process

  1. i assumed Juno was directed by the same guy that directed Knocked Up, because it’s about unexpected pregnancy and Michael Cera stars as Juno’s boyfriend (he was in Superbad, a close relative of Knocked Up).

  2. I wasn’t so much trying to argue that Eastern Promises “is more substantively Canadian than Juno”. I was more taking issue with how you presented it as barely Canadian at all:

    “a film with no Canadian actors, not filmed in Canada without a Canadian crew… but hey, some Canadian somewhere paid for 20% of the bill”

    That being said, in my mind, one David Cronenberg + one Howard Shore has a roughly equal amount of Canadian power as Ellen Page + Michael Cera + Jason Reitman and a Vancouver filming location.

    When I hear Cronenberg or Shore’s names, I think, ‘Canadian!’ whereas with Jason Reitman, it’s more like, ‘Oh, he’s Canadian?’

  3. Ok Deborah,

    So to sum up, the only thing Eastern Promises has “Canadian” that Juno doesn’t is a composer.

    Juno has Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Crew, Shot In Canada.

    They both had Canadian directors.

    Now tell me again how Eastern Promises is more substantively Canadian than Juno???

    If one wants to say “Juno shouldn’t be considered Canadian”, that’s a conversation I’m willing to have… but…

    to say it doesn’t qualify and Eastern Promises does is where thing get into pure nonsense territory.

  4. The big problem with award shows in general is that they claim to represent a certain amount of respect the industry deserves, but only if you have the money to back it up. Too often it is also true that they get too caught up in their extensive rules to really acknowledge good work by dedicated people. – Bishop

    Good point. The politics of it all ruin everything.

    I don’t put too much stock into awards anyway. Honestly, even movie fans are hard pressed to name, off the top of their heads, the last ten Best Picture winners from the Oscars. In the end, it’s more about the dog and pony show ceremonies themselves. Style over substance.

  5. ^^ Agreed, Bishop. There’s actually plenty of awesome Canadian films out there, you just have to look a bit harder since the press rarely gives them any attention.

    And I think your math equation should look more like this:

    – Canadian lead actOR
    – 1/6 of the supporting cast members is Canadian
    – Canadian-born Director
    – Shot in Canada
    – Shot with Canadian crew
    – American writer and producers
    _____________________
    = NOT CANADIAN

    however another movie:

    – Not with Canadian actors
    – Not shot in Canada
    – Not done with Canadian crew
    – Big name Canadian director
    – Big name Canadian film score composer
    – had 20% of the expenses paid by a Canadian
    _________________
    = TRUE CANADIAN CONTENT!

    And yes I realize I’m getting way too anal about this and need to drop it, heh. :)

  6. I would amend that statement to say that “the MAINSTREAM Canadian entertainment industry continues to prove…”

    Just since there is a great amount of government support out there for artists who want to take part in film, music, and television that beats the pants off of what the U.S. and other countries have available to them, unfortunately.

    The big problem with award shows in general is that they claim to represent a certain amount of respect the industry deserves, but only if you have the money to back it up. Too often it is also true that they get too caught up in their extensive rules to really acknowledge good work by dedicated people.

  7. Hey James,

    Actually, i never “threatned” not to cover the Genies, I just said I would make sure not to.

    Hey Jarred,

    Here’s the thing. I am a big believer in Canadian talent, as a matter of fact I think it’s the best in the world. Having said that, the industry and system in Canada is, as you say, a big joke. Even I, as a “proud Canadian” want nothing to do with it. And moronic, pathetic and outright stupid moves like this on their part do nothing to give confidence to people like me who desperately WANT to cover his own country’s awards, but can’t because he’s constantly humiliated by them.

    The Canadian entertainment industry continues to prove to the world that they deserve no respect or attention, and thus the great Canadian talent will continue to leave as soon as they get the chance, and Canadian psudo-media like myself, will continue to ignore them.

  8. This is why no one pays attention to Canadian stuff, and never will. Sorry John, I know you’re a proud Canadian and always waving the flag and stuff, but everyone else in the world already knew the Canadian entertainment industry was a laughing stock, and stupid shit like this just proves it even more.

  9. How much coverage have you given the Genies in the past?

    Yeah, I don’t think John has even covered the Genies at ALL in the past, so it’s a major hoot for John to threaten to stop doing something that he hasn’t done up to this point anyway.

  10. Hey Deborah,

    No, it’s not a weak argument. It’s a very strong one actually. Eastern Promises is far less “Canadian” than Juno is. Once again for the math:

    – Canadian lead actors
    – Canadian supporting cast
    – Canadian Director
    – Shot in Canada
    – Show with Canadian crew
    _____________________
    = NOT CANADIAN

    however another movie:

    – Not with Canadian actors
    – Not shot in Canada
    – Not done with Canadian crew
    – had 20% of the expenses paid by a Canadian
    _________________
    = TRUE CANADIAN CONTENT!

    That is a very strong argument. If you’re trying to say Eastern Promises IS Candadian because Cronenberg is Canadian… then that only makes my argument even stronger because so is Reitman. And Rietman has a Canadian cast, with Canadian leads, filmed in Canada with a Canadian crew… all things Eastern Promises doesn’t have.

    This is just common sense… something the Genies apparently have nothing of.

  11. Hey Deborah,

    No, it’s not a weak argument. It’s a very strong one actually. Eastern Promises is far less “Canadian” than Juno is. Once again for the math:

    – Canadian lead actors
    – Canadian supporting cast
    – Canadian Director
    – Shot in Canada
    – Show with Canadian crew
    _____________________
    = NOT CANADIAN

    however another movie:

    – Not with Canadian actors
    – Not shot in Canada
    – Not done with Canadian crew
    – had 20% of the expenses paid by a Canadian
    _________________
    = TRUE CANADIAN CONTENT!

    That is a very strong argument. If you’re trying to say it IS Candadian because Cronenberg is Canadian… than that only makes my argument even stronger because so is Reitman. And Rietman has a Canadian cast, with Canadian leads, filmed in Canada with a Canadian crew… all things Eastern Promises doesn’t have.

  12. Bishop: Search ‘Genies’ in the search bar at the top of the page and you’ll get your answer.

    I suppose I can see where you’re coming from, John, but the comparison to Eastern Promises that you keep using really is a weak argument.
    Like I said above, it’s a David Cronenberg film. That guy is the friggin’ pride and joy of the Canadian film industry who has won multiple Genies in the past for Best Director.

  13. Just as a quick question John…
    How much coverage have you given the Genies in the past?

    I am sad to hear that you won’t be covering the Genies, but to be fair, I like to consider myself a proud Canadian but I have never really cared much about the Genies personally. The Oscars neither. Or the Grammys.

    I don’t even know if they are being telecast!

  14. I happen to agree with John (*GASP* did I just say that?) on this one…

    – Canadian lead actors
    – Canadian supporting cast
    – Canadian Director
    – Shot in Canada
    – Show[sic] with Canadian crew
    _____________________
    = NOT CANADIAN

    however another movie:

    – Not with Canadian actors
    – Not shot in Canada
    – Not done with Canadian crew
    – had 20% of the expenses paid by a Canadian
    _________________
    = TRUE CANADIAN CONTENT!

    I think John is just saying that the rule is dumb. Just like the foreign language rule is dumb (I actually think the way foreign films are handled by the Oscars is REALLY dumb).

    But whether we think Juno is good or not doesn’t really matter here. It is pretty stupid that it’s not up for a Genie. I mean it was up for best picture at the Oscars. Quite obviously a lot of other people (within the industry) thought it was worthy of that. So it seems obvious it should be up for a Genie as well.

    Rules are rules, so they must be adhered to. But in this case, I think John is right for being upset about the rule.

    Having said all that, Kurt’s comment (#25) is right on. Nobody would be giving a shit at all about this if it wasn’t for the great and quirky Diablo Cody (aka Captain Caveman) and her “fantastic” script. If it was “The Tracey Fragments” that got snubbed, no one would give a frog’s fat ass.

  15. aynone saying juno is a canadian movie is just plain stupid.
    its an american movie. end of story.
    it doesnt fuckin matter from which country whoever fuck is… who cares.

  16. Hey Kurt,

    You said:

    “I am saying that they shouldn’t bend/break the rules because a film WAS commercially successful. This wouldn’t be an issue covered in the entertainment news/blogosphere if the film in question was not JUNO but some more obscure work.”

    I’m not saying “break” the rules. I’m saying this is a situation where you have to recognize that the “rule” is violating the intent of the function and putting the function in a precarious situation where a film with:

    – Canadian lead actors
    – Canadian supporting cast
    – Canadian Director
    – Shot in Canada
    – Show with Canadian crew
    _____________________
    = NOT CANADIAN

    however another movie:

    – Not with Canadian actors
    – Not shot in Canada
    – Not done with Canadian crew
    – had 20% of the expenses paid by a Canadian
    _________________
    = TRUE CANADIAN CONTENT!

    This is stupidity.

    And yes, if the film in question wasn’t Juno, I probably wouldn’t be making an issue out of it… but that’s only because it’s unlikely that I’d be aware of the situation. If I were.. and another lesser known film was in the same situation and is popularly accepted probably would win… then I’d be raising the same stink.

  17. On the foreign language film, see Comment #23.

    Also, I’m not saying that the Genies HAVE to award a non-commercially successful film, but I am saying that they shouldn’t bend/break the rules because a film WAS commercially successful. This wouldn’t be an issue covered in the entertainment news/blogosphere if the film in question was not JUNO but some more obscure work.

  18. Hey Kurt,

    Your confusing issues here.

    Film is subjective. But within subjectivity you aim to reward “the best” by the subjective standard. That’s fine. But to add into that you only reward it as “the best” if it didn’t do well commercially is another ball of wax.

    Also, if the rule for “Foreign Language Film” is… it mostly has to be in a foreign language… that rule makes sense. And at least in that situation the judgment was based on something substantive IN THE MOVIE, as opposed to a question of who wrote the check for 20% of the expenses of the film. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

  19. Two more things (yes I’m a comment hog tonite)….the only reason the characters speak English in THE BANDS VISIT, because it is a common language between the Egyptian Police Band and the local Arabs. No rules bent there. No outrage at the ‘absolute rules’

  20. When have Awards shows every ‘held up the best’? Seriously? As you’ve said yourself a million times, taste is subjective. The Best is arbitrary on a good day.

    Why Couldn’t THE BANDS VISIT be submitted for best foreign langauge film at the Oscars? Oh, because they have a rule that says is a certain percentage of the film the characters speak English it cannot qualify. That is far more ludicrous, because it’s a bloody Egyptian film with a Egyptian cast, crew, money, and is partly in Arabic and Egyptian.

    I didn’t see The Movie Blog boycotting the Oscars, that’s why I find the passion behind Juno’s omission to the Genies a tad baffling…

  21. Hey Kurt,

    You said:

    “If Awards Shows are created to celebrate and raise awareness of the industry, shouldn’t we be celebrating the ‘Canadian’ (however you define it) films that didn’t play in wide release.”

    I strongly disagree. If the function of the Genies (or any other awards for that matter) is to hold up “the best”, then you give it to “the best” regardless if they got popular or not.

    In the Genies case, the awards are for the Best… not for “The best that didn’t actually get noticed by anyone”.

    Let those lesser known films win due to their merrit… not as a consolation sympathy prize.

  22. Last thing on this. I love Jason Reitman, I’ve been following him since I saw his short film “In God We Trust” way back in 2000. But he’s got it wrong when he says “British Cast” – Naomi Watts is Australian, Vincent Cassel is French, Armin-Mueller-Stahl is German-Russian and Viggo Mortensen is American.

    Of course his point is still valid in that there are no Canadians in the cast. It is funny that the Genies allow Co-Productions, but that still doesn’t change the fact that US-funded movies are allowed. Maybe they should just change the co-production rules so that over 50% of the funding has to come from Canada. If they swing it towards greater than 50% of the cast and crew are Canadian, then oh-boy, half of hollywood films would qualify. I mean who wouldn’t want to see Battlefield Earth up for a Genie?

    But one of Canada’s most famous director, Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweethere After) was born in Egypt after all.

  23. Sorry, I did go off track a bit for my first point there. If Awards Shows are created to celebrate and raise awareness of the industry, shouldn’t we be celebrating the ‘Canadian’ (however you define it) films that didn’t play in wide release. The Tracey Fragments? Shake Hands with The Devil? Silk? Even Days of Darkness?

  24. Weren’t Awards shows created to support and celebrate the industry (Or break up labour unions in the case of AMPAS way back when)?

    Again, Juno hardly needs any more accolades at this point. While it is a good and enjoyable movie, the phrase ‘over-praised’ comes to mind. And trust me on this, I went into the film at the TIFF premiere when there was no hype or expectations…Folks clearly dug the film, but it was nowhere near the best film of the year. It wasn’t the best Canadian film, heck it wasn’t even the best Ellen Page movie of the year (That’d be The Tracey Fragments, which is nominated for Genies).

    I don’t think anyone over at Fox Searchlight is too upset that Juno couldn’t play in the Genie sandbox.

    Oh, and one comment on the “Canadian Content” rule. I’m not totally opposed to it (I have a strong dislike of any unfettered market, but that’s a personal bias). The biggest example is the South Korean film industry. If I remember correctly, the government had a screen quota system that stipulated that 25% of Korean Screens had to show local movies (European, Japanese, Chinese and Hollywood flicks could play in the other 75%). From 1998 until 2006, South Korea was one of the hottest film-countries around the world. The industry flourished, the talent got better and local audiences loved the films. Then the Quota system came down (Hollywood pressure on the S. Korean government) and the film industry (for whatever reason, too many productions too few screens, expanding budgets, etc.) went into a tailspin, 2007 being a steep decline for South Korean films in South Korea and 2008 doesn’t look a lot better….

    boy that was a few more words than I expected to say on this.

  25. Hey Alfie,

    Rules exist to serve the function, the function does not exist to serve the rules. Rules are great, but when they interfere with common sense or the function, you gather your board of governors and make adjustments to ensure your function doesn’t look stupid.

    Like say… not qualifying a movie filmed in Canada, with a Canadian director, Canadian lead stars with a Canadian crew… But DO qualify a film with no Canadian actors, not filmed in Canada without a Canadian crew… but hey, some Canadian somewhere paid for 20% of the bill. That is beyond ridiculous.

    Absolute rules make you look like an absolute idiot. In this case, the Genies look beyond hope when simple common sense can’t be employed and the function is made to serve the rules.

  26. I just don’t see why you are so mad about this.

    The genies have a set of guidelines and rules for eligbility.

    Juno doesn’t meet the requirements.
    why is that so bad…they obviouslyu have had these rules inplace for years and now you are going to dismiss the awards entirely because a film that lets face it hardly needs the help can’t enter another fucking awards show?
    it seems to me your outrage when compared to the actual story seems a little i dunno over board??

    Plus it wasnt snubbed either…the studio never actually submitted it according to the rep from the genies.
    the studio knew the rules and they didn’t bother even submitting it.

  27. Hey there Marina,

    I’m not forgetting that at all. I actually said in my post:

    “The rules of the Genies dictate that what makes a movie “Canadian”, is where the money comes from to make it. That makes sense that to a degree, but only to a point.”

    This is where common sense has to trump over the letter of the rule. No, Juno wasn’t financially Canadian, but it was substantively Canadian thoroughly.

    Again, compare it to Eastern Promises. Just because some Canadian paid 20% of the bill it’s more CANADIAN than Juno? A film about a Russian hitman filmed in England without any of the leads being Canadian?

    I understand the “rule”, but the idea of our national awards defining what is “Canadian” exclusively by who wrote the check as opposed to the substantive nature of the project really doesn’t sit well with me.

  28. We’re forgetting that “Juno” is, technically, not a “Canadian” film because it wasn’t FUNDED by Canadian dollars. Regardless of how much Canadian talent is involved and where it was filmed, if some of the funding isn’t coming from Canada, it’ll never qualify as a Canadian film.

    I’m not saying it’s right but that’s the way things are.

  29. I’m with you, John. As a reasonably proud Canadian ex-pat, I always agreed with Bryan Adams, that “Canadian Content” rules for radio airplay made our dear Canada a laughingstock.

  30. I dunno, I think it makes sense.

    David Cronenberg is one of the only people that comes to my mind when you say “Canadian Film” (others being Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald…also a nominee this year).

    Also, Howard Shore did the score… he’s an awesome Canadian film composer.

    So I’ve always thought of Eastern Promises as a Canadian film.

    Maybe I’m not so bothered by this because I’m used to seeing the PRODUCERS accept the award for Best Picture at the Oscars… not the rest of the cast and crew.

  31. Hey Bishop,

    Yes, the X-Men films were filmedin Canada… but…

    Juno also had both their leads as Canadian, and the director is Canadian.

    How can that NOT be considered for a Genie, but “Eastern Promises”, a film shot in England, the leads weren’t Canadian… oh buy hey… 20% of the financing came from Canada, so THAT’S Canadian. It makes zero sense to me whatsoever.

  32. You may be right John, but by that token why weren’t any of the “X-men” movies nominated for Genies? Those crews were Canadian. I’ll bet there were a TON of actors in those movies that were Canadian.

    Fact is, it is an American Film. Bottom line.

    Haven’t seen it yet, but hope to enjoy it one day.

  33. Agreed that this is a silly and extreme case, but this happens all the time in awards shows, there are two or three films denied noms at the oscars due to clunky ‘rules’: The Bands Visit was disqualified because it had ‘too much English’, Johnny Greenwood fabulous score for there will be blood was gone because he built it out of previously recorded material. Silly Rules.

    A Very Long Engagement was disqualified as foreign film because it had too much money from Warner Brothers in the financing, despite every other element being french.

    I guess the point is that Canadians are no better at avoiding the ‘legal’ gaffs than anyone else.

    And Eastern Promises would have trounced Juno at the Genies, as would Away From Her. It was a really strong year for Canadian cinema.

  34. It’s a shame you won’t be covering the Genies because of the Juno thing.

    The way I see it, Juno really doesn’t need any more awards and attention at this stage anyways.

    But there have been some truly amazing Canadian movies released this year that have barely gotten any press — Eastern Promises, Away From Her, and Ellen Page’s (I think superior) performance in The Tracey Fragments.

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