There was hardly a moment to sit down on Sunday night, with Quebec movie stars running in and out of the 12th annual Jutra awards show. From frantic visits to the washrooms during commercial breaks, to chatting with reporters after their wins, to posing for photographs, the vedette infused soirÃ©e was aflutter with excitement.
The night’s big winner was the grassroots indie hit J’ai tuÃ© ma mÃ¨re, about a gay 17-year-old”s complex relationship with his mother. The film picked up five statuettes, including best picture and best screenplay for Xavier Dolan, the 21-year-old who wrote, directed and starred in the semi-autobiographical film.
“After leaving my studies I wrote [the screenplay] with the urgency of becoming someone,” Dolan said in his televised acceptance speech. “I didn’t write it with the intention of being narcissistic, I swear. But simply because everything I wanted to say were things that I’ve lived through.”
Although Dolan repeatedly thanked the Jutra academy for bestowing the honor on him onstage, he seemed less confident backstage. “It’s hard for me because I don’t know why I am receiving this award,” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s because it’s a good film or because I was 20 and I went to Cannes one day.”
His costar, Anne Dorval, dressed in a silk trench coat with a large bow, couldn’t disagree more with the young director. Breathless after her best actress win for J’ai tuÃ© ma mÃ¨re, Dorval was rushed into the press room without having a moment to reflect on the Jutra in her hands, but managed to credit Dolan amidst the flashing camera bulbs. “Xavier really believes in his actors and he is so sure of his vision,” Dorval said. “We just want to let ourselves go in front of him.”
Sandrine Bisson, who won best supporting actress for the comedy 1981 (about an unpopular boy who resorts to lying to avoid being the school loser), was probably the wackiest winner of the bunch. Even though she wrote her thank yous along her arm in pen, it did not prevent her from going off script. “And thank you to my boyfriend, who encourages me and supports me when the [movie] contracts are not there, and you know they are not there often,” Bisson said. Once backstage, the actress (who wore her hair in a ponytail complete with horse hair and a feather) revealed he future aspirations. “I really hope with all my heart that this [award] gives me a hand,” she said.
Maxim Gaudette was tongue-tied when accepting his Jutra for best supporting actor. Gaudette won for his sobering performance as the unnamed killer in Polytechnique. Once backstage, he revealed that the character is still very much a part of him. “That person, it inhabits me still,” Gaudette said. “When I speak about it, I shiver every time.”
Other notable wins were for best actor, accepted by SÃ©bastien Ricard via satellite for his role in the Quebec biopic DÃ©dÃ©, Ã travers les brumes, about rock group Les Colocs.
The show itself was a bit of a muddled mess, with a hokey In Memoriam montage interspersed with odd knock-knock style jokes. The pace of the evening did not benefit from host Patrice L’Ecuyer, who was the only one in the room unaware that his puns fell flat. “Actors don’t make much money with product placement, but hosts do,” L’Ecuyer said, shoveling a fork load of Becel margarine, the show’s sponsor, into his mouth.
Note to L’Ecuyer: margarine-sponsored jokes are never funny.