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Phillipe Falardeau's 'Monsieur Lazhar' Big Winner at Canada's Genie Awards

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Canada's film awards was overshadowed by co-host Andrea Martin dropping her emcee gig at the eleventh hour to fly to Los Angeles to co-star in a CBS comedy pilot.

TORONTO – Canada’s Genie Awards on Thursday night produced a memorable snub: SCTV star Andrea Martin dropped the country’s film awards on Wednesday to jump an airplane to Los Angeles to co-star in a CBS comedy pilot.

“I can’t believe she ditched me,” Canadian talk-show host George Stroumboulopoulos declared as he flew solo in Toronto as the evening’s host.

The Canadian media also felt the snub.

“Andrea Martin gives Genies last-minute brush-off,” the Vancouver Sun proclaimed as the irony of a Hollywood studio calling Martin away from Canadian film’s biggest night for a bigger payday and TV audience was not lost back home.

Back on the Genies stage, Quebec director Phillipe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar was the big winner on the night.

The French-language film took the Genie for best picture, and Falardeau earned the best director and best adapted screenplay trophies.

“I’m privileged to live in a time and place where our public system makes it possible for us to make personal films,” the Quebec director told a nationwide CBC audience as he lauded Canada’s generous taxpayer support for homegrown films.

Algerian actor Fellag won for best actor for his star-turn as an immigrant teacher in Monsieur Lazhar, while the best supporting actress Genie went to 10 year-old Sophie Nelisse for her role in Falardeau’s theatrical drama.

The expected English language Canadian contender at the Genies, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, collected a slew of craft awards, including best original score for Howard Shore, and a best supporting actor trophy for Viggo Mortensen.

“I don’t think any other director would have thought of me as Sigmund Freud,” Mortensen said before unfurling a Montreal Canadiens hockey team banner during the CBC telecast.

“I dedicate this award to the Montreal Canadiens. We’ll be back next year with a vengeance,” he added.

French actress Vanessa Paradis won the Genie for best actress for her lead performance in Jean-Marc Vallee's Cafe de Flore.