The 2018 AACTA Awards mark the 60th Anniversary of AFI | AACTA, giving the Australian Academy and the screen industry the opportunity to celebrate its incredible history, talented practitioners and world-class productions.
“AFI | AACTA has been celebrating our industry and its immense talent since the first AFI Awards in 1958, where ten awards were presented,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella. “60 years on, we have 395 individuals from 105 productions competing for a total of 54 Awards, recognising excellence across all industry sectors, including feature film, television, documentary, short film, online, visual effects and animation.”
Comedy-drama Ladies in Black, drama series Mystery Road and gay rights movement mini series Riot lead the way with 11 nominations each, followed closely by Australian western Sweet Country with 10 nominations. In another record-breaking year, a total of 19 feature films have received nominations, with five films competing for the highly coveted AACTA Award for Best Film: Boy Erased, Breath, Cargo, Ladies in Black and Sweet Country.
The five nominees for the inaugural AACTA Award for Best Indie Film – which honours the finest Australian films of the past year with a budget of under $2 million are: The Jacobson Brothers’ dark comedy Brothers’ Nest; and Benjamin Gilmour’s Jirga – which was recently announced as Australia’s entry for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Stan’s first Australian ‘Original’ feature film, Mairi Cameron’s The Second; Alena Lodkina’s Venice Film Festival Biennale College funded film Strange Colours; and Jason Raftopoulos’ West of Sunshine – whose star, the late Damian Hill, also received a posthumous nomination for Best Lead Actor.
Leading individual nominations are Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased) and Simon Baker (Breath), who compete in four categories: Best Film, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. Not only does this mark first-time production and direction nominations for the AFI and AACTA Award-winning auteurs, it also marks the first time in AFI | AACTA history that an individual has been nominated in both direction and acting categories in the same year.
Edgerton and Baker compete for Best Direction alongside two past category winners; Cannes Golden Camera Award winner Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), and two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford (Ladies in Black), whose nomination marks his seventh Best Direction nomination, tying him with Paul Cox for the most nominations in the category.
Emmy winner Julia Ormond receives her first AACTA Award nomination for Ladies in Black, while Oscar nominees Lucas Hedges and Rooney Mara follow past recognition at the AACTA International Awards with nominations for their performances in Boy Erased and Mary Magdalene, respectively.
Also receiving nominations for Boy Erased are Oscar and multi-AFI and AACTA Award winners Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, who is vying for her second consecutive Best Supporting Actress win. Sweet Country’s Hamilton Morris and Natassia Gorey-Furber both receive nominations for their acting debuts, while Daniel Monks receives a Best Lead Actor nomination for his feature film debut in Pulse.
Feature films Breath and Sweet Country are nominated for the inaugural AACTA Award for Best Casting, alongside television mini series’ Friday on my Mind and Riot.
In television, 51 productions are competing for 21 awards, with five nominees competing for the AACTA Award for Best Drama Series: Jack Irish, Mr Inbetween, Mystery Road, Rake and Wentworth. Nominated for Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy are Rachel Perkins (Mystery Road), Nash Edgerton (Mr Inbetween), Jeffrey Walker (Riot) and last year’s winner Glendyn Ivin (Safe Harbour).
Oscar nominee and eight-time AFI and AACTA Award winner Judy Davis – who currently holds the record for most wins across performance categories – receives her first nomination in a television category for Mystery Road.
Among those receiving their first nominations are: Hannah Gadsby (Nanette); Hazem Shammas and Nicole Chamoun (Safe Harbour); Xavier Samuel (Riot); and the five nominees for the Subscription Television Award for Best New Talent, Inez Currõ (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper), Nick Riewoldt (AFL 360), Chika Yasumura and Scott Ryan (Mr Inbetween).
Celia Pacquola’s nomination for Rosehaven marks her fourth nomination for Best Performance in a Television Comedy and sees her chasing her fourth consecutive AACTA Award win. Other actors receiving consecutive nominations include: Tina Bursill (Doctor, Doctor), Leah Purcell (Wentworth), Wayne Hope (Back in Very Small Business) and Richard Roxburgh – who received his seventh Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama nomination.
“We’re thrilled to see such a wealth of screen talent recognised at this year’s Awards,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella. “From some of the earliest AFI Award winners to many emerging and early-career practitioners – we look forward to celebrating their fine achievements, as well as our 60th Anniversary as the longest standing national screen culture and industry development organisation at the 2018 AACTA Awards in Sydney.”
The winners will be announced at the two major 2018 AACTA Awards events, held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, home of the AACTA Awards: The Industry Luncheon on Monday 3 December, and the AACTA Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 5 December – telecast on Channel Seven with encore screenings on Foxtel. For more information, including the full nominations list, visit: www.aacta.org for details.
Image: Mystery Road, Ladies in Black, Riot, Boy Erased and Sweet Country (supplied)