TORONTO (CP) _ "Bon Cop, Bad Cop," a uniquely Canadian action movie about a pair of detectives who bicker in both official languages as they hunt a homicidal hockey fan, was named best picture Tuesday at the 27th annual Genie Awards.
But "Maurice Richard/The Rocket" was the night’s big winner _ taking home nine Genies, including best actor for Roy Dupuis _ even though the top prize went to "Bon Cop," one of the highest-grossing Canadian films of all time, earning more than $12 million last year in domestic box office receipts.
"The Rocket," about the Montreal Canadiens idol, dominated the Genie acting categories, with Julie Le Breton winning best actress and Stephen McHattie taking best supporting actor while the prolific Dupuis took home his second best actor Genie in as many years.
He won last year for his portrayal of an amnesiac in "Memoires affectives."
Only Carrie-Anne Moss broke the "Rocket" stranglehold with her supporting actress role in "Snow Cake."
"The Rocket"’s Charles Biname won the best director Genie, and the film also netted hardware for art direction, costume design, editing and cinematography, among others.
Also taking home a Genie was "Manufactured Landscapes," a look at the work of famed photographer Edward Burtynsky that has been sold to a U.S. distributor. It won best documentary.
"Bon Cop’s" only other Genie was achievement in overall sound, though it also won the Golden Reel Award, awarded to the Canadian film with the highest domestic box office earnings.
The other big box office hit of 2006, "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie," was shut out despite getting rave reviews and enjoying the biggest opening weekend in Canadian box office history.
Nonetheless, the producers of "Bon Cop" were delighted with the film’s success and pledged a sequel.
"Thank you, Toronto!" "Bon Cop" producer Kevin Tierney told the Genie crowd as he picked up the Golden Reel, acknowledging how well the film did in Canada’s largest city. "The rest of you missed a really good film."
Taking home acting Genies didn’t seem to matter too much to "Bon Cop" stars Patrick Huard and Colm Feore. The pair kissed for the cameras before the gala at Toronto’s downtown Carlu got underway, and Huard, up for a best actor Genie, expressed doubt he’d win.
"I’m just here to have fun," said Huard, who co-wrote "Bon Cop."
He added that a sequel to the film was in the works in "about five years or so; I have to write it."
After lip-locking his co-star, Huard said: "He’s a great kisser. I didn’t know that. So just for that, there will be a sequel."
This year’s Genies were handed out amid trying times for the Canadian film industry as ACTRA, the union representing Canadian performers, remains locked in a bitter dispute with producers about new rates and fair compensation for use of actors’ work on the Internet.
But there was, for a change, a genuine buzz surrounding the awards this year due to the financial and critical success of "Bon Cop," "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie" and "The Rocket." All three movies did well in English Canada, a notoriously difficult market to crack for Canadian filmmakers, resulting in domestic box office outside of Quebec that was double what it was in 2005.
The year ahead also promises to be a banner one for Canadian film, with movies including Sarah Polley’s "Away From Her," the zombie comedy "Fido" starring Moss and Scottish comic Billy Connolly, and a highly anticipated new Denys Arcand film scheduled for release.
Patrick Roy, executive producer of "Bon Cop," said the success of his film shows that English Canadians want to see good Canadian films.
He added he hoped "Bon Cop" would become a franchise, saying it would be a shame if the sparkling rapport between Feore and Huard was contained to just a single film.
"The successes that we’ve had in Quebec in the past were really because we were making films for Quebec people," he said. "The biggest mistake we can make is to try to do what Americans are doing. If we start making movies for Canadians, I think they’ll go see them, but it’s going to take a few successes in a row. People will realize that Canadian movies can be successful and they’ll go see them."