When can I submit a performance for consideration?

Any time. Submissions for four juried awards, Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female, Gender Non-Conforming or Male, Gender Non-Conforming or Female Voice and Gender Non-Conforming or Male Voice, are open all year round. Submit whenever you see a significant performance by a fellow member that you think is truly outstanding. Submit here. The criteria are here.

When are the awards?

The awards take place in awards season in late February. Submissions for the juried awards always close the Hallowe’en before.

How are the nominees chosen?

ACTRA Toronto volunteer jury coordinators, for on-camera and one for voice, start to recruit jurors after Hallowe’en. They look for ACTRA Toronto members who have previously won or been nominated for a performance award. They also work to ensure their juries are inclusive.

In December, after the nominating jurors are recruited and screeners obtained for each performance, the eligible submissions are divided roughly equally between the jurors. Each eligible submission is viewed in its entirety by one juror, typically over the winter holidays. In recent years, there have been too many eligible separate submissions per category for each volunteer juror to watch them all. In January, three nominating juries (Female, Male and Voice) gather at ACTRA Toronto on a weekend to select the five nominees for each Outstanding Performance category. The nominees are announced in the press.

The voice juries listen to the performances with the screen turned off. This way, the voice jurors are not influenced by the artistry of the animation or other visuals, but by the artistry of the vocal performance alone.

Do the nominating juries pick the winners too?

That is left to the discretion of the Jury Coordinators. Often a different final jury chooses the winner in each category. The final jurors watch each of the five nominated shows in their entirety. The winners are announced on the night of the awards.

Does it work the same for the Series Ensemble award?

No. The Members Choice Series Ensemble nominees and winner are chosen by ACTRA Toronto members in two separate online surveys, one to select the five finalists and the other to select the winner. The eligible shows are assembled by staff. The shows are all ACTRA Toronto Canadian Content live-action series where at least four of the top five cast members are Canadian and which were first broadcast in the previous calendar year. As with the juried awards, the nominees are announced in the press and the winner announced on the night of the awards.

What about the two special achievement awards?

The ACTRA Toronto Stunt Award criteria and recipient is decided by the ACTRA Toronto Stunt Committee.

The ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence recipient is chosen by ACTRA Toronto Council. The ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence recognizes a distinguished ACTRA Toronto performer whose outstanding career achievements as a performer are matched by a significant volunteer contribution to the industry and ongoing work of ACTRA Toronto to improve the lives of its members. The ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence is selected by ACTRA Toronto Council at their October Council meeting and presented at the next annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto event.

How can I make sure my performance is considered?

Ask a fellow cast member or a fellow ACTRA Toronto member to submit you. But be smart about it. The award is for Outstanding Performance. It should be some of the very best work you’ve ever done; you don’t want to waste the juror’s time. It must be a principal role, usually a lead or guest of supporting role. If it is a principal supporting role, it should have significant screen time. A few performers in supporting roles have been nominated in the past, but they tended to be “guest leads.” The jurors understand they are comparing leads to supporting performances, feature-length productions to shorts, TV to film to web series and so on. They try their very best to evaluate each performance on its merits alone. Every year we are impressed and honoured by the seriousness and integrity with which our jurors approach their work.

Why don’t we have separate categories for lead, support, TV, film, comedy, etc.?

Over the years, such suggestions have been made and considered and will be again, but at this point, there are four juried awards only. One of the considerations is to keep the show to a reasonable length.

But nobody knows about these awards.

There is a link on the home page of our website. We send e-blasts to members reminding them to submit noteworthy performances as soon as they see them through the easy online submission form on the ACTRA Toronto website. You’ll get emails reminding you to submit especially in September as the Hallowe’en deadline approaches. We send e-blasts to all ACTRA Toronto members. Deleting emails from ACTRA Toronto or sending them to your junk mail folder means you not only don’t find out about the awards, but you also don’t find out about our fabulous Member Conferences, or your very important voting privileges. Read your ACTRA emails. It is a membership requirement to have a valid email address on file with your union.

I don’t know all the answers to the questions on the submission form.

Don’t worry about it. We’ll look them up for you.

I have another question that is not answered here.

Please contact Jennifer McGibbon at jmcgibbon@actratoronto.com.