The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television presents an annual award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role to the best performance by a lead actress in a Canadian film.[1] The award was first presented in 1968 by the Canadian Film Awards, and was presented annually until 1978 with the exception of 1969, when no eligible feature films were submitted for award consideration, and 1974 due to the cancellation of the awards that year.

From 1980 until 2012, the award was presented as part of the Genie Awards ceremony; since 2013, it has been presented as part of the Canadian Screen Awards.

From 1980 to 1983, only Canadian actresses were eligible for the award; non-Canadian actresses appearing in Canadian films were instead considered for the separate Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress.[2] After 1983, the latter award was discontinued, and from 1986 both Canadian and foreign actresses were eligible for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.[3]

In August 2022, the Academy announced that it will discontinue its past practice of presenting gendered awards for film and television actors and actresses; beginning with the 11th Canadian Screen Awards in 2023, gender-neutral awards for Best Performance will be presented, with eight nominees per category instead of five.[4] Lead performances are now honoured with the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Performance in a Film.


Year Nominee Film Ref
20th Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold Isabel [1]
21st Canadian Film Awards
No award presented this year [1]


Year Nominee Film Ref
22nd Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold The Act of the Heart [1]
23rd Canadian Film Awards
Ann Knox The Only Thing You Know [1]
24th Canadian Film Awards
Micheline Lanctôt The True Nature of Bernadette (La Vraie Nature de Bernadette) [1]
25th Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold Kamouraska [1]
No award presented [1]
26th Canadian Film Awards
Margot Kidder A Quiet Day in Belfast [1]
27th Canadian Film Awards
Marilyn Lightstone Lies My Father Told Me [1]
28th Canadian Film Awards
Monique Mercure J.A. Martin Photographer (J.A. Martin photographe) [1]
Jayne Eastwood One Man [5]
Carole Laure The Angel and the Woman (L'Ange et la femme)
Hollis McLaren Outrageous!
29th Canadian Film Awards
Helen Shaver In Praise of Older Women [1]
Micheline Lanctôt Blood and Guts [6]
Celine Lomez The Silent Partner
Andrée Pelletier Marie-Anne


Year Nominee Film Ref
1st Genie Awards
Kate Lynch Meatballs [1]
Micheline Lanctôt A Scream from Silence (Mourir à tue-tête) [7]
Louise Marleau Heartbreak (L'arrache-cœur)
Claire Pimparé Yesterday
Louise Portal Cordélia
2nd Genie Awards
Marie Tifo Good Riddance (Les Bons débarras) [1]
Geneviève Bujold Final Assignment [8]
Jennifer Dale Suzanne
Charlotte Laurier Good Riddance (Les Bons débarras)
Andrée Pelletier The Handyman (L'Homme à tout faire)
3rd Genie Awards
Margot Kidder Heartaches [1]
Kim Cattrall Ticket to Heaven [9]
Lesleh Donaldson Funeral Home
Ronalda Jones Alligator Shoes
Monique Spaziani Happy Memories (Les Beaux souvenirs)
4th Genie Awards
Rae Dawn Chong Quest for Fire [1]
Sara Botsford By Design [10]
Hélène Loiselle Sweet Lies and Loving Oaths (Doux aveux)
Monique Mercure Beyond Forty (La Quarantaine)
Andrée Pelletier Latitude 55°
5th Genie Awards
Martha Henry The Wars [1]
Carole Laure Maria Chapdelaine [11]
Barbara March Deserters
Marie Tifo Lucien Brouillard
Marie Tifo Just a Game (Rien qu'un jeu)
6th Genie Awards
Louise Marleau A Woman in Transit (La Femme de l'hôtel) [1]
Pascale Bussières Sonatine [12]
Linda Griffiths Reno and the Doc
Isabelle Mejias Unfinished Business
Andrée Pelletier Walls
Sonja Smits That's My Baby!
7th Genie Awards
Margaret Langrick My American Cousin [1]
Charlotte Laurier The Dame in Colour (La Dame en couleurs) [13]
Christine Pak 90 Days
Monique Spaziani The Alley Cat (Le Matou)
Mary Steenburgen One Magic Christmas
8th Genie Awards
Martha Henry Dancing in the Dark [1]
Dorothée Berryman The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l'empire américain) [14]
Jackie Burroughs John and the Missus
Tantoo Cardinal Loyalties
Helen Shaver Lost!
Marie Tifo Intimate Power (Pouvoir intime)
9th Genie Awards
Sheila McCarthy I've Heard the Mermaids Singing [1]
Frédérique Collin Marie in the City (Marie s'en va-t-en ville) [15]
Jacinta Cormier Life Classes
Kate Lynch Taking Care
Gabrielle Rose Family Viewing
10th Genie Awards
Jackie Burroughs A Winter Tan [1]
Geneviève Bujold Dead Ringers [16]
Kerrie Keane Hitting Home
Josette Simon Milk and Honey
Monique Spaziani The Revolving Doors (Les Portes tournantes)


Year Nominee Film Ref
11th Genie Awards
Rebecca Jenkins Bye Bye Blues [1]
Colleen Dewhurst Termini Station [17]
Megan Follows Termini Station
Margaret Langrick Cold Comfort
Gabrielle Rose Speaking Parts
Catherine Wilkening Jesus of Montreal (Jésus de Montréal)
12th Genie Awards
Pascale Montpetit H [1]
Alice Diabo The Company of Strangers [18]
Cissy Meddings The Company of Strangers
Kate Nelligan White Room
Nina Petronzio Vincent and Me (Vincent et moi)
13th Genie Awards
Janet Wright Bordertown Café [1]
Janet-Laine Green The Shower [19]
Viveca Lindfors North of Pittsburgh
Enrica Maria Modugno La Sarrasine
Valerie Pearson Solitaire
14th Genie Awards
Sheila McCarthy The Lotus Eaters [1]
Élise Guilbault Cap Tourmente [20]
Andrée Lachapelle Cap Tourmente
Pauline Lapointe La Florida
Aloka McLean The Lotus Eaters
15th Genie Awards
Sandra Oh Double Happiness [1]
Nancy Beatty Henry & Verlin [21]
Geneviève Bujold My Friend Max (Mon amie Max)
Valérie Kaprisky Desire in Motion (Mouvements du désir)
Marie Tifo Les Pots cassés
16th Genie Awards
Helena Bonham Carter Margaret's Museum [1]
Pascale Bussières Eldorado [22]
Pascale Bussières When Night Is Falling
Pascale Montpetit Eldorado
Isabel Richer Eldorado
17th Genie Awards
Martha Henry Long Day's Journey into Night [1]
Marie Brassard Polygraph (Le Polygraphe) [23]
Helene Clarkson Blood and Donuts
Brenda Fricker Swann
Louise Portal Not Me! (Sous-sol)
18th Genie Awards
Molly Parker Kissed [1]
Isabelle Cyr Karmina [24]
Sarah Polley The Sweet Hereafter
Gabrielle Rose The Sweet Hereafter
Alberta Watson Shoemaker
19th Genie Awards
Sandra Oh Last Night [1]
Anne-Marie Cadieux [25]
Pascale Montpetit Streetheart (Le Cœur au poing)
Ginette Reno It's Your Turn, Laura Cadieux (C't'à ton tour, Laura Cadieux)
Pierrette Robitaille It's Your Turn, Laura Cadieux (C't'à ton tour, Laura Cadieux)
20th Genie Awards
Sylvie Moreau Post Mortem [1]
Elaine Cassidy Felicia's Journey [26]
Jennifer Ehle Sunshine
Rosemary Harris Sunshine
Mary-Louise Parker The Five Senses


Year Nominee Film Ref
21st Genie Awards
Marie-Josée Croze Maelström [27]
Kim Hunter Here's to Life! [28]
Ginette Reno Laura Cadieux II (Laura suite)
Pierrette Robitaille Laura Cadieux II (Laura suite)
Tilda Swinton Possible Worlds
22nd Genie Awards
Élise Guilbault The Woman Who Drinks (La Femme qui boit) [29]
Jillian Fargey Protection [30]
Anna Friel The War Bride
Sarah Polley The Law of Enclosures
Katja Riemann Desire
23rd Genie Awards
Arsinée Khanjian Ararat [31]
Isabelle Blais Savage Messiah [32]
Molly Parker Men With Brooms
Deborah Kara Unger Between Strangers
Polly Walker Savage Messiah
24th Genie Awards
Sarah Polley My Life Without Me [33]
Rebecca Jenkins Marion Bridge [34]
Micheline Lanctôt How My Mother Gave Birth to Me During Menopause (Comment ma mère accoucha de moi durant sa ménopause)
Molly Parker Marion Bridge
Karine Vanasse Séraphin: Heart of Stone (Séraphin: un homme et son péché)
25th Genie Awards
Pascale Bussières Bittersweet Memories (Ma vie en cinémascope) [35]
Isabelle Blais Love and Magnets (Les Aimants) [36]
Céline Bonnier Machine Gun Molly (Monica la mitraille)
Emily Hampshire Blood
Jacinthe Laguë The Five of Us (Elles étaient cinq)
26th Genie Awards
Seema Biswas Water [37]
Gina Chiarelli See Grace Fly [38]
Macha Grenon Familia
Arsinée Khanjian Sabah
Sylvie Moreau Familia
27th Genie Awards
Julie Le Breton The Rocket (Maurice Richard) [39]
Jodelle Ferland Tideland [40]
Fatou N'Diaye A Sunday in Kigali (Un dimanche à Kigali)
Ginette Reno A Family Secret (Le secret de ma mère)
Sigourney Weaver Snow Cake
28th Genie Awards
Julie Christie Away from Her [41]
Anne-Marie Cadieux You (Toi) [42]
Elliot Page[a] The Tracey Fragments
Molly Parker Who Loves the Sun
Béatrice Picard My Aunt Aline (Ma tante Aline)
29th Genie Awards
Ellen Burstyn The Stone Angel [43]
Isabelle Blais Borderline [44]
Marianne Fortier Mommy Is at the Hairdresser's (Maman est chez le coiffeur)
Susan Sarandon Emotional Arithmetic
Preity Zinta Heaven on Earth
30th Genie Awards
Karine Vanasse Polytechnique [45]
Madeline Ivalu Before Tomorrow (Le Jour avant le lendemain) [46]
Karen LeBlanc Nurse.Fighter.Boy
Carinne Leduc 3 Seasons (3 saisons)
Gabrielle Rose Mothers & Daughters


Year Nominee Film Ref
31st Genie Awards
Lubna Azabal Incendies [47]
Tatiana Maslany Grown Up Movie Star [48]
Molly Parker Trigger
Rosamund Pike Barney's Version
Tracy Wright Trigger
32nd Genie Awards
Vanessa Paradis Café de Flore [49]
Catherine De Léan Nuit #1 [50]
Pascale Montpetit The Girl in the White Coat
Rachel Weisz The Whistleblower
Michelle Williams Take This Waltz
1st Canadian Screen Awards
Rachel Mwanza War Witch (Rebelle) [51]
Evelyne Brochu Inch'Allah [52]
Geneviève Bujold Still Mine
Marilyn Castonguay L'Affaire Dumont
Suzanne Clément Laurence Anyways
2nd Canadian Screen Awards
Gabrielle Marion-Rivard Gabrielle [53]
Cara Gee Empire of Dirt [54]
Isabelle Guérard The Storm Within (Rouge sang)
Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Tatiana Maslany Cas & Dylan
3rd Canadian Screen Awards
Anne Dorval Mommy [55]
Ahn Ji-hye In Her Place [56]
Julianne Côté You're Sleeping Nicole (Tu dors Nicole)
Julianne Moore Maps to the Stars
Yoon Da-gyeong In Her Place
4th Canadian Screen Awards
Brie Larson Room [57]
Céline Bonnier The Passion of Augustine (La Passion d'Augustine) [58]
Leah Fay Goldstein Diamond Tongues
Karelle Tremblay Our Loved Ones (Les Êtres chers)
Hadas Yaron Felix and Meira (Félix et Meira)
5th Canadian Screen Awards
Tatiana Maslany The Other Half [59]
Nathalie Doummar Boundaries (Pays) [60]
Carmen Ejogo Born to Be Blue
Sasha K. Gordon Natasha
Bhreagh MacNeil Werewolf
6th Canadian Screen Awards
Sally Hawkins Maudie [61]
Denise Filiatrault It's the Heart That Dies Last (C'est le cœur qui meurt en dernier) [62]
Shirley Henderson Never Steady, Never Still
Mahour Jabbari Ava
Marine Johnson The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes)
7th Canadian Screen Awards
Émilie Bierre A Colony (Une colonie) [63]
Valeria Henríquez The Padre [64]
Rose-Marie Perreault Fake Tattoos (Les faux tatouages)
Brigitte Poupart Les Salopes, or the Naturally Wanton Pleasure of Skin (Les salopes ou le sucre naturel de la peau)
Carla Turcotte Sashinka
8th Canadian Screen Awards
Nahéma Ricci Antigone [65]
Deragh Campbell Anne at 13,000 Ft. [66]
Violet Nelson The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Kacey Rohl White Lie
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open


Year Nominee Film Ref
9th Canadian Screen Awards
Michelle Pfeiffer French Exit [67]
Carrie Coon The Nest [68]
Carmen Moore Rustic Oracle
Rosalie Pépin Vacarme
Madeleine Sims-Fewer Violation
10th Canadian Screen Awards
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers Night Raiders [69]
Aviva Armour-Ostroff Lune [70]
Alana Hawley Purvis Range Roads
Aliya Kanani Scarborough
Julia Sarah Stone Come True

See also


  1. ^ Credited as Ellen Page


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Topalovich, Maria (2000). And the Genie Goes To...: Celebrating 50 Years of the Canadian Film Awards. Stoddart Publishing. ISBN 0-7737-3238-1.
  2. ^ Scott, Jay (February 27, 1982). "Canadian films do Jekyll and Hyde act". The Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ "Genie rules changed to include Americans". Toronto Star. October 9, 1985.
  4. ^ Joseph Pugh, "Canadian Screen Awards switching to gender-neutral performance categories". CBC News, August 25, 2022.
  5. ^ "Back stage". The Globe and Mail, October 15, 1977.
  6. ^ "Four films nominated for Etrogs". The Globe and Mail, August 24, 1978.
  7. ^ Jay Scott, "Changeling leads Canadian Film Award nominees". The Globe and Mail, February 8, 1980.
  8. ^ Jay Scott, "Genie nominations released". The Globe and Mail, February 10, 1981.
  9. ^ Jay Scott, "Les Plouffe, Ticket to Heaven lead the pack: Academy lists Genie nominees". The Globe and Mail, February 4, 1982.
  10. ^ Jay Scott, "Top Genie prospects for Jack Miner move". The Globe and Mail, February 10, 1983.
  11. ^ Jay Scott, "11 nominations for Chapdelaine in Genie race". The Globe and Mail, February 10, 1984.
  12. ^ Jay Scott, "Bay Boy reels in 11 Genie nominations". The Globe and Mail, February 15, 1985.
  13. ^ "Scorecard of major nominees for tonight's Genie Awards on TV". Toronto Star, March 20, 1986.
  14. ^ John Allemang, "Arcand's Decline tops Genie nominations with 13". The Globe and Mail, February 5, 1987.
  15. ^ Liam Lacey, "Quebec film picks up 14 nominations: Zoo paces race for Genies". The Globe and Mail, February 17, 1988.
  16. ^ "Genie Award Nominees 1989". Cinema Canada. February–March 1989. pp. 27–35.
  17. ^ "Bye Bye Blues in running for Genie Awards". Vancouver Sun, February 14, 1990.
  18. ^ Craig MacInnis, "Too many jokers, not enough aces: Genie deck stacked for Black Robe". Toronto Star, November 24, 1991.
  19. ^ "Genie Award nominations". Toronto Star, November 20, 1992.
  20. ^ "Genie nominations". Calgary Herald, October 20, 1993.
  21. ^ "The 1994 Genie nominees". Playback. November 7, 1994.
  22. ^ "Nominees for the 1995 Genie Awards". Canadian Press, November 7, 1995.
  23. ^ "Over-the-edge Canadian films poised for Genie nod". Canadian Press, November 24, 1996.
  24. ^ "The 1997 Genie Awards". Playback. November 17, 1997.
  25. ^ "Two films lead Genie pack". Waterloo Region Record, December 8, 1998.
  26. ^ Kelly, Brendan (December 13, 1999). "Genies bottle `Sunshine,' `Journey' for kudo noms". Variety. Vol. 377, no. 5. p. 8.
  27. ^ "Maelstrom sweeps Genie Awards". Cape Breton Post, January 31, 2001.
  28. ^ Lacey, Liam (December 13, 2000). "Maelstrom storms the Genies". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on February 11, 2018.
  29. ^ "Inuit film earns top honours at Genie Awards". CBC News. February 8, 2002.
  30. ^ "Atanarjuat and The War Bride share lead for Genie Awards". Guelph Mercury, December 15, 2001.
  31. ^ McKay, John (February 14, 2003). "Egoyan's Ararat named best film, takes 5 awards at the Genies". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "Egoyan's Ararat scoops nine Gemini nominations". Timmins Daily Press, December 12, 2002.
  33. ^ The Canadian Press (May 2, 2004). "Barbarian Invasions is gem of Genies". The Globe and Mail.
  34. ^ Staff (29 March 2004). "Genie countdown: Who will get the nod?". Playback. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017.
  35. ^ Peter Howell, "Quebec films rule Genies; Aging Triplets named country's best film of 2004". Toronto Star, March 22, 2005.
  36. ^ "Being Julia up for best picture at Canada's Genies". St. Catharines Standard, February 9, 2005.
  37. ^ McKay, John (March 13, 2006). "Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y. wins big at 2006 Genie awards". The Globe and Mail.
  38. ^ Guy Dixon, "Forget the awards. Watch the party". The Globe and Mail, January 26, 2006.
  39. ^ Jay Stone, "Bon Cop, Bad Cop wins top Genie as best movie". Ottawa Citizen, February 14, 2007.
  40. ^ Randall King, "The Rocket scores with 13 Genie nominations". Winnipeg Free Press, January 10, 2007.
  41. ^ Mark Medley, "Away From Her scoops six Genies, including best picture". Alaska Highway News, March 5, 2008.
  42. ^ Bruce Kirkland, "They dream of Genies; Canadian directors see films scoop 12 noms each". Winnipeg Sun, January 29, 2008.
  43. ^ "Passchendaele, Necessities of Life dominate Genie Awards". CBC News. April 4, 2009.
  44. ^ Dumais, Manon (April 3, 2009). "Génie 2009 : Ça Intéresse-T-I Quelqu'un ?". Voir.
  45. ^ Howell, Peter (April 12, 2010). "Polytechnique sweeps Genie Awards". Toronto Star.
  46. ^ Strauss, Marise (March 1, 2010). "Polytechnique leads Genie race". Playback.
  47. ^ "Incendies, Barney's Version dominate Genies". CBC News. March 10, 2011. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016.
  48. ^ Cassandra Szklarski, "Genie nominations offer a look at the diversity of Canadian film". Moose Jaw Times-Herald, March 9, 2011.
  49. ^ Johnson, Brian D. (March 8, 2012). "Monsieur Lazhar sweeps the Genies". Maclean's.
  50. ^ Katherine Monk, "Who's afraid of Canadian film?; Genies aside, turns out we are". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, March 6, 2012.
  51. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards raises the star wattage". Toronto Star. March 3, 2013.
  52. ^ "A look at the nominees for the Canadian Screen Awards". Canadian Press, January 15, 2013.
  53. ^ "'Orphan Black,' 'Gabrielle' big winners at Canadian Screen Awards". CTV News. March 9, 2014.
  54. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards: Orphan Black, Less Than Kind, Enemy nominated". CBC News. January 13, 2014.
  55. ^ "'Mommy' and 'Orphan Black' win big". Trail Times, March 3, 2015.
  56. ^ "Reynolds, Pattinson among film nominees at Canadian Screen Awards". Global News. January 13, 2015.
  57. ^ Cummins, Julianna (March 13, 2016). "Room cleans up at final night of 2016 Screenies". Playback. Archived from the original on January 3, 2018.
  58. ^ Wong, Jessica (January 19, 2016). "Canadian Screen Awards 2016 nominations led by Room, Schitt's Creek, Orphan Black". CBC News.
  59. ^ Charlie Smith, "Tatiana Maslany wins big at Canadian Screen Awards". The Georgia Straight, March 12, 2017.
  60. ^ Furdyk, Brent (January 17, 2017). "2017 Canadian Screen Awards nominees revealed". Global News. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  61. ^ Jessica Wong (March 11, 2018). "Canadian Screen Awards 2018: Maudie, Anne, Kim's Convenience win top prizes". CBC News. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  62. ^ Norman Wilner, "The Canadian Screen Awards showers love on (almost) everyone". Now, January 16. 2018.
  63. ^ Duchesne, Andre (March 31, 2019). "Une colonie primée aux Prix Écrans canadiens". La Presse (in French). Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  64. ^ Sarah-Ann Mrazek, "The 2019 Canadian Screen Awards Nominees Have Been Announced". Fashion, February 7, 2019.
  65. ^ Weaver, Jackson (28 May 2020). "Antigone named best picture on final night of Canadian Screen Awards". CBC News. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  66. ^ Wilner, Norman (18 February 2020). "Canadian Screen Awards 2020: Prepare for a Schitt's show". Now.
  67. ^ Naman Ramachandran, "‘Schitt's Creek,’ ‘Blood Quantum’ Triumph at Canadian Screen Awards". Variety, May 21, 2021.
  68. ^ Brent Furdyk (March 30, 2021). "Canadian Screen Awards Announces 2021 Film Nominations". ET Canada. Archived from the original on March 30, 2021.
  69. ^ Adina Bresge, "'Scarborough' top film winner at Canadian Screen Awards". CP24, April 10, 2022.
  70. ^ Brent Furdyk, "2022 Canadian Screen Award Nominees Announced, ‘Sort Of’ & ‘Scarborough’ Lead The Pack". ET Canada, February 15, 2022.