Hallmark’s Paul Campbell & Kimberley Sustad Win Major Award: ‘So Lucky’

Kimberley Sustad, Paul Campbell

Heavy/Hallmark Hallmark's Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell

Actors Paul Campbell and Kimberley Sustad are beloved among Hallmark fans, having each appeared in over a dozen rom-coms for the network. But now the Canadian duo has been recognized for their work behind the scenes, too, winning a Leo Award on July 9, 2023, for Best Screenwriting in a TV Movie. The writing partners won the honor for Hallmark’s smash hit, “Three Wise Men and a Baby.”

In addition, Richard Harmon, who co-starred with Davida Williams in the August 2022 movie “Game, Set, Love,” won the Leo for Best Actor in a TV Movie. Several other Hallmark projects and personalities were nominated for 2023 Leos, which have been awarded annually for the last 25 years by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, where many Hallmark movies are filmed.

Sustad has shared some of the celebratory notes and posts she’s received from friends and colleagues, saying she feels “so lucky” to be part of the Hallmark universe. Here’s what you need to know:

Tyler Hynes Applauds His Colleagues’ ‘Mega Talent’

Winning the Leo Award is a particularly special honor for Sustad and Campbell because it’s evidence that their Canadian peers see and celebrate their talent as a writing duo. In March, Sustad told TV Fanatic that she and Campbell first realized they had good chemistry and laughed a lot together while acting in 2018’s “A Godwink Christmas.” Both loved storytelling, so the pair decided to try writing together.

Sustad and Campbell’s first project was 2020’s “Christmas By Starlight,” which they also starred in. Executives at Hallmark didn’t even know they were writing a script until it was done, Sustad told TV Fanatic. Luckily, the programmers loved it and decided to turn it into a movie.

“We’ve kind of just kept going ever since then,” she said.

In November, Campbell told Media Village that Hallmark later asked them to play with the idea of combining him with two other network fan favorites — Andrew Walker and Tyler Hynes — to star in a movie based on the 1987 hit “Three Men and a Baby.” The resulting movie was not only a huge hit among Hallmark fans, but became the most-watched cable movie of 2022, according to Variety. 

In her Instagram Stories, Sustad has shared some of the kind words she’s received from colleagues about the Leo Award. On July 12, she shared a photo of a wrapped gift basket with a bottle of Pol Roger champagne and a congratulatory note from Hallmark executives.

Over the photo, Sustad wrote, “Thank you!! Honestly. What in the world…I feel so lucky to work with YOU!!!! @hallmarkchannel So thoughtful and kind…I kinda want to drink it alone, light the candle and cry about how much I love you all there. I won’t cry…don’t send help…but the love is real and I still may drink it alone.”

On July 11, Sustad also shared a post — featuring a photo of Sustad, Campbell, Hynes and Walker hugging — from Hallmark development executive Auna Kemp, who wrote, “I remember reading the first draft and thinking that we had something special that our audience would LOVE. So creative, always funny.”

Sustad replied, “Thank you for guiding us. ❤️❤️❤️”

Hynes also congratulated the writing duo in his Instagram Stories on July 10, writing, “@paulcampbellofficial & @kimberleysustad Winning awards & winning hearts 🤍🏆🤍 Congrats P.K. We are all behind you & appreciate your mega talent 😊”

Multiple Hallmark Movies Were Nominated for Leo Awards

Not all Hallmark movies came out winners, but many were honored as nominees at the 2023 Leo Awards. Actor-turned-director Peter Benson posted a photo of him and his wife, actress Julia Benson, who was nominated for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Television Movie for her role in Lifetime’s “Cruel Instruction.”

He was there to both support his wife and as a director nominee for “Color My World With Love,” the 2022 Hallmark movie about a couple with Down Syndrome starring Lily D. Moore, Erica Durance, Benjamin Ayres and David Desanctis. It was also nominated in the Casting and Picture Editing categories.

On his post, he wrote, “Well… we both went home empty handed from the Leo Awards but it was fun for Mom and Dad to get dressed up for the night! Honoured to be nominated for Best Director for #ColorMyWorldWithLove – huge shoutout to every single person who worked on this movie – this nomination was for every one of you❤️”

In the comment section, Ayres quipped, “But mostly me and thank you 🙏🏼” while Durance commented, “You’re the best in my books❤️”

Several other Hallmark directors were nominated, too — Heather Hawthorn Doyle for “A Splash of Love;” Jessica Harmon for “Game, Set, Love;” and Terry Ingram for “Three Wise Men and a Baby.” In the end, Richard Dewey won Best Director of a TV movie for the E! film “Why Can’t My Life Be a Rom-Com?”

“Three Men and a Baby” was also nominated for Best TV Movie, as was Hallmark’s “Time For Him to Come Home For Christmas” and “Lights, Camera, Christmas!” which Sustad also starred in. That award went to Lifetime’s “An Amish Sin.”

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