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.

1960s

Year Nominee Film Ref
1968
20th Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold Isabel [1]
1969
21st Canadian Film Awards
No award presented this year [1]

1970s

Year Nominee Film Ref
1970
22nd Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold The Act of the Heart [1]
1971
23rd Canadian Film Awards
Ann Knox The Only Thing You Know [1]
1972
24th Canadian Film Awards
Micheline Lanctôt The True Nature of Bernadette (La Vraie Nature de Bernadette) [1]
1973
25th Canadian Film Awards
Geneviève Bujold Kamouraska [1]
1974
No award presented [1]
1975
26th Canadian Film Awards
Margot Kidder A Quiet Day in Belfast [1]
1976
27th Canadian Film Awards
Marilyn Lightstone Lies My Father Told Me [1]
1977
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!
1978
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

1980s

Year Nominee Film Ref
1980
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
1981
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)
1982
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)
1983
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°
1984
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)
1985
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!
1986
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
1987
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)
1988
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
1989
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)

1990s

Year Nominee Film Ref
1990
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)
1991
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)
1992
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
1993
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
1994
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
1995
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
1996
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)
1997
18th Genie Awards
Molly Parker Kissed [1]
Isabelle Cyr Karmina [24]
Sarah Polley The Sweet Hereafter
Gabrielle Rose The Sweet Hereafter
Alberta Watson Shoemaker
1998
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)
1999
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

2000s

Year Nominee Film Ref
2000
21st Genie Awards
Marie-Josée Croze Maelström [27]
Kim Hunter Here's to Life! [28]
Ginette Reno Laura Cadieux II (Laura Cadieux...la suite)
Pierrette Robitaille Laura Cadieux II (Laura Cadieux...la suite)
Tilda Swinton Possible Worlds
2001
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
2002
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
2003
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)
2004
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)
2005
26th Genie Awards
Seema Biswas Water [37]
Gina Chiarelli See Grace Fly [38]
Macha Grenon Familia
Arsinée Khanjian Sabah
Sylvie Moreau Familia
2006
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
2007
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)
2008
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
2009
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

2010s

Year Nominee Film Ref
2010
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
2011
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
2012
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
2013
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
2014
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
2015
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)
2016
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
2017
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)
2018
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
2019
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

2020s

Year Nominee Film Ref
2020
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
2021
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

Notes

  1. ^ Credited as Ellen Page

References

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  5. ^ "Back stage". The Globe and Mail, October 15, 1977.
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