Ottawa native Sandra Oh, comedian Rick Mercer and actor Colm Feore are among the seven Canadians named this year as laureates of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the country’s highest honour for artists. Mercer and Feore — along with pianist Louise Bessette, director Lorraine Pintal and dancer/educator Mavis Staines — are being feted for lifetime achievement in the arts, while Oh earns the National Arts Centre award in recognition of a stellar performance year. The Korean-Canadian made history in January as the first Asian host of the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, and the first woman of Asian descent to win multiple Golden Globes.
Host and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama “for Killing Eve” winner Sandra Oh poses with the trophy during the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
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For Feore, who has hosted the GGPA awards gala eight times since 2010, being among the laureates instead of the ringleader of the festivities is pushing him out of his comfort zone. “It’s a very funny feeling,” the Stratford-based actor said in an interview. “I knew how to respond when I was hosting. I knew what the job was. I was very comfortable. Having turned the camera around, I’m not entirely sure how to behave. I think, ‘Wow, it seems a bit soon.’ But I’m trying to put it into some sort of perspective.”As host of the annual gala from 2010 to 2017, he felt his job was to introduce Canadians to the laureates’ work, which isn’t always widely recognized. “I saw myself essentially as the host of an enormously large cocktail party where I want to introduce people who are utter strangers to each other, and knew that after being introduced, they would be best of friends and huge admirers and fans of each other’s work,” he said. “Let me show you what they’ve been doing for 40 years, and let’s celebrate them.“That made absolute sense because for me, it’s easier to talk about other people and promote other people, and be the agent for other people’s success and praise.”With the tables now turned, it’s time to take stock of his own 40-year career, which has ranged from classical theatre to film, television and Netflix. Soon after graduating from the National Theatre School in Montreal, Feore landed at the Stratford Festival, where he had the chance to play most of the leading Shakespeare characters, including Romeo, Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago and more.“It’s a remarkable place for the development of actors because you are thrown into a repertory system, which means you are not just doing one play at a time, you could be doing two, three or four,” he said. “I’ve done as many as five. It’s wonderful. It’s the best exercise in the world. It’s an enormously athletic way to learn how to do this stuff properly with some of the best writers in the English language.”His film breakthrough came when he won the starring role in the critically acclaimed 1993 biopic, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. “That film had a huge impact in my being taken seriously as I tried to introduce myself to people in film and TV,” said Feore, who believes the key to success as a Canadian actor is to be adaptable and versatile.
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
Feore is also known for his Gemini-winning portrayal of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 2002 television miniseries Trudeau, and for playing the anglophone OPP detective in the 2006 dark comedy, Bon Cop, Bad Cop. In recent years, he played General Ted Brockhart on the Netflix series, House of Cards, and the doctor on the American horror television series, Lore. His latest role is Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the billionaire industrialist on the popular new Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy. When asked if he prefers acting for the camera or a live audience, he said he enjoys both. “It’s always seemed to me that they nourish each other and cross-pollinate,” he said. Feore also has some advice for Heather Hiscox, the broadcaster who’s hosting her second GGPAA gala, which takes place at the National Arts Centre on April 27. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. March 8, available at the NAC box office and through Ticketmaster, 1-888-991-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.ca. “Simply, know that the job is really the biggest cocktail party in the country and by the end of it, everybody has to be introduced to everybody else, and know why they’re all wonderful. The most important aspect to it is you become an advocate for each and every laureate.” This year, that includes Feore himself.Here’s more on each laureate: Sandra Oh: The versatile actor and accomplished producer is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in casting. She is the co-executive producer and star of the hit BBC America spy series “Killing Eve,” for which she won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics’ Choice Award for best actress in a drama series.Louise Bessette: The Montreal concert pianist is recognized worldwide as an outstanding performer and promoter of 20th- and 21st-century music. She has introduced the works of Quebec and Canadian composers to audiences across North America, Europe and Asia.Colm Feore: The fluently bilingual stage and screen actor regularly appears at the Stratford Festival and has more than 140 film and TV credits to his name. He and his wife, theatre director Donna Feore, make their home in Stratford, where they have raised three children. Rick Mercer: The satirist, comedian, screenwriter, actor and humanitarian is considered one of Canada’s leading political and social commentators, best known for the satirical TV shows “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” “Talking to Americans,” “Made in Canada,” and “Rick Mercer Report.” Lorraine Pintal: Over a 45-year career, the actor, director, and arts advocate has directed more than 150 stage productions, produced several TV series, hosted a literary radio show and served on the boards of numerous arts organizations. As artistic director and general manager of Montréal’s Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM) since 1992, she has revitalized the organization. Mavis Staines: An innovative dance educator and collaborator who has revolutionized the way we teach and understand classical ballet. Under her leadership, Canada’s National Ballet School has reshaped the landscape of ballet in Canada.E. Noël Spinelli: The Montreal-area business leader has supported the performing arts, especially music, for over five decades. He will receive the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, which recognizes outstanding voluntary service to the performing arts in Canada.firstname.lastname@example.orgALSO IN THE NEWSMontebello Rock emerges from Rockfest bankruptcy with more ‘intimate’ plansCouncillor says city powerless to block proposed ‘ugly’ cellphone tower neighbours complain is too big‘I and my staff always acted appropriately’ regarding SNC-Lavalin: Trudeau