October 29, 2015
In the year that Australian films bounced back, Oscar winners Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron are among the nominees for the country’s main film and television awards.
Winslet is up for best actress for her role as an internationally successful designer returning home in The Dressmaker, which leads the field at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards with 12 nominations.
Her main rival is Theron, who played a one-armed warrior in the hit action film Mad Max: Fury Road, which has 11 nominations.
Both films are vying for best film with the moving euthanasia drama Last Cab to Darwin (eight nominations), gay romance Holding the Man (six nominations) and family drama Paper Planes (five nominations).
The nominations are announced on the day The Dressmaker opens in cinemas, joining a line-up of Australian releases that looks like taking a record $70 millon at the box office this year.
Winslet and Theron are up for best actress against two considerably less well-known nominees – Ningali Lawford-Wolf, who was the lover of a dying man in Last Cab to Darwin, and Robyn Butler, who was a harried aunt who took in a troublesome niece in the yet-to-be-released comedy Now Add Honey.
The role that revived Michael Caton’s career, playing a dying taxi driver in Last Cab to Darwin, has delivered the 72-year-old the chance to win the country’s top acting award for the first time.
When he was nominated for The Castle at what were then known as the Australian Film Institute Awards in 1997, Caton lost to Richard Roxburgh for Doing Time for Patsy Cline.
“It was the role of a lifetime really,” he said of Last Cab to Darwin. “Your age sometimes sends you to the peripherals but this one had you slap bang in the centre of it.”
With Tom Hardy missing a best actor nomination for playing Mad Max in Fury Road, Caton is up against Ryan Corr, who was a gay playwright and activist in Holding the Man, Patrick Brammall, who played an advertising executive trying to give up alcohol in Ruben Guthrie, and Sullivan Stapleton, who was a dangerous ex-con in the crime drama Cut Snake.
Corr, who has been filming Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge in Sydney, said playing Tim Conigrave in Holding The Man was a “profound personal and professional experience”.
“People are very thankful that this story is being told and feeling that it does honour to the memory of their loved ones and friends that were lost during the AIDS crisis,” he said. “It’s more than just telling a story on a superficial level. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
The award for best director sees two former winners, Fury Road‘s George Miller and The Dressmaker’s Jocelyn Moorhouse, up against two directors with theatre backgrounds – Holding The Man‘s Neil Armfield and Last Cab to Darwin’s Jeremy Sims.
Judy Davis, a six-time winner at the AFI and AACTA awards, has another nomination for best supporting actress for The Dressmaker.
She is up against newcomer Emma Hamilton (Last Cab to Darwin), Deborah Mailman (Paper Planes) and Sarah Snook (also for The Dressmaker).
Hugo Weaving has another nomination for The Dressmaker in the best supporting actor category, alongside Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin), Alex Dimitriades (Ruben Guthrie) and Anthony LaPaglia (Holding the Man).
In television, the Seven network’s music drama Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door has dominated with 10 nominations followed by Foxtel Showcase’s World War I drama Deadline Gallipoli and the ABC historical drama The Secret River – both with eight.
The nominations are a triumph for rising star Joel Jackson, who is nominated twice for best lead actor in a TV drama. He played real life characters in both roles – singer Peter Allen and war correspondent Charles Bean.
Also getting dual nominations at the fifth AACTA awards are Deborah Mailman and Sarah Snook, who add to their recognition in the film categories with nods for best lead actress in a TV drama for Redfern Now and The Secret River respectively.
Two ABC shows are up for best drama series – Glitch and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – against Nine’s Love Child and Foxtel Soho’s Wentworth.
The two leading contenders in the TV categories, Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door and The Secret River, are nominated alongside The Principal (SBS) and Banished (Foxtel BBC First) for best telefeature or mini-series.
While The Bachelor and Bachelorette have grabbed more headlines over the past year, the contenders for best reality TV series are MasterChef Australia (Ten), My Kitchen Rules (Seven), Real Housewives of Melbourne (Foxtel Arena), The Voice Australia (Nine) and The X Factor (Seven).
The ABC has all four nominees for best light entertainment series – Dirty Laundry Live, Judith Lucy Is All Woman, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.
Best TV comedy series is also dominated by the ABC, with Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, Utopia and Sammy J & Randy In Ricketts Lane up against SBS’ Danger 5.
As well as her own best actress film nomination, Upper Middle Bogan‘s Robyn Butler also has a producing nod for best children’s TV series with husband Wayne Hope for Little Lunch (ABC3).
It is up against three other shows on ABC 3 – The New Adventures of Figaro Pho, Nowhere Boys and Ready For This.
The AACTA craft awards will be presented at a dinner in Sydney on November 30, with the main awards on December 9.