Geminis make changes; add international category
Martin Katz attends the press conference to announce the nominations for the 32nd annual Genie Award in Toronto on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2012. The Gemini Awards have introduced new rules aimed at ensuring that splashy international co-productions such as 'The Tudors' no longer dominate the annual TV bash. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:25PM EST
TORONTO - The Gemini Awards have introduced new rules aimed at ensuring that splashy international co-productions such as "The Tudors" no longer dominate the annual TV bash.
The creation of a new "international category" means that the coveted prizes for best drama and best miniseries will no longer go to big-budget global ventures that often have little homegrown content.
Last year, the Jeremy Irons saga "The Borgias," a Canada-Hungary-Ireland co-production about an Italian Renaissance crime family, won best dramatic series while the costume drama "The Pillars of the Earth," co-produced by Canadian and German partners, was named best dramatic miniseries.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which runs the Geminis, says the change is among several reforms that should make the awards more "responsive" to the community.
"We're just trying to get like programs to compete with like programs," academy chair Martin Katz said Tuesday.
"And by creating a new category that's called 'best international drama,' something like 'Pillars of the Earth' would compete against something like 'The Borgias' or 'The Tudors' or others of those larger budget international co-productions."
The agency has long been dogged by criticism over how well it represents the entertainment industry. The academy also runs the Genie Awards, which celebrate the best in film.
New rules introduced Tuesday include greater power for the academy's members to choose the winners.
From now on, TV and digital members can vote in all categories, rather than just the category in which they compete, and member votes will count just as much as jury votes.
Previously, jury votes were weighted more heavily, noted Katz, who called the changes "a major evolution."
"What we're doing is trying to ensure there's sufficient integrity in the system that all our members will look at the results and overwhelmingly say 'That's a good result,' " said Katz, a film producer whose credits include "A Dangerous Method" and "Hotel Rwanda."
"And I think there've been times in the past where our members have looked at the results and scratched their heads and wondered how that result came about."
The academy raised eyebrows in 2009 when "Corner Gas," widely considered Canada's most popular sitcom of all time, was shut out of the nominations in its final season.
The following year, the Genies largely ignored the widely acclaimed debut of Quebec phenom Xavier Dolan, "I Killed My Mother."
After Dolan's snub, then-vice chair Kevin Tierney noted that Genie nominations are determined by academy juries which can sometimes be "aberrant affairs."
Last summer, the academy replaced its entire board of directors and announced that significant reforms were on the way.
Katz was brought in as the new chair while two new governance committees were established and extensive industry consultations were launched.
The academy says long-overdue reforms also shave the number of Gemini categories from 114 to 92.
"I think whenever you look at a peer-reviewed system there you just try and make it as complete a system as possible, as responsive a system as possible," Katz said of his work since taking over.
"What we're trying to do is ensure that the system responds to the interests and needs of our members."
The 27th Gemini Awards are set to take place Sept. 5 in Toronto.