The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) celebrated its 60th year in Sydney at The Star Event Centre. In a big year for Australian screen stories, SWEET COUNTRY, MYSTERY ROAD, RIOT, LADIES IN BLACK, Nicole Kidman, Warwick Thornton, Deborah Mailman and Simon Baker were among the winners announced at the star-studded Ceremony.
Receiving their first AACTA Awards, SWEET COUNTRY’s Hamilton Morris and LADIES IN BLACK’s Angourie Rice took home the Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress awards respectively, while Simon Baker received the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for BREATH.
Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Nicole Kidman won the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for BOY ERASED, becoming the first actress to win two consecutive Best Supporting Actress Awards (winning last year for LION).
BOY ERASED also received the AACTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, marking three-time AFI and AACTA Award winner Joel Edgerton’s first non-performance award.
MYSTERY ROAD and RIOT swept the television categories, receiving three awards each including Best Drama Series and Best Telefeature or Mini-Series, respectively.
RIOT took home the AACTA Awards for Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama for Damon Herriman and first-time AACTA Award-winner Kate Box.
Also winning her first AACTA Award was the first-time nominee Hannah Gadsby, who received the AACTA Award for Best Performance in a Television Comedy for her critically acclaimed stand-up special, NANETTE.
Twenty years after receiving her first AFI Award for her acting debut in RADIANCE (1998), Deborah Mailman took home her fifth Award – Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for MYSTERY ROAD – while co-star Wayne Blair won the AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama.
The remaining television awards went to AUSTRALIAN SURVIVOR: CHAMPIONS VS CONTENDERS for Best Reality Series, THE WEEKLY WITH CHARLIE PICKERING for Best Entertainment Program and SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA, which won Best Lifestyle Program for the second consecutive year.
Marking first-time AACTA Award wins for both director Paul Damien Williams and producer Shannon Swan, GURRUMUL won the AACTA Award for Best Feature Documentary.
Bryan Brown accepted the AACTA Longford Lyell Award, Australia’s highest screen accolade.
Chinese box office hit DYING TO SURVIVE received the AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG). The Award was presented to the film’s director Muye Wen on stage by Golden Globe winner Rachel Griffiths and Best Asian Film Grand Juror Renny Harlin. In addition to being the third highest-grossing film at the Chinese box office in 2018, the black comedy is one of only a handful of films to have triggered a change in laws, with the Chinese Government lifting tariffs on many cancer treatments earlier this year and adding dozens of previously banned imported drugs to national medical insurance.
The Byron Kennedy Award, which celebrates outstanding creative enterprise within the screen industry, was presented to award-winning filmmaker, photographer and philanthropist Ian Darling AO for his brave, innovative and wide-ranging pursuit of excellence. Darling’s credits include PAUL KELLY – STORIES OF ME (2012), ALONE ACROSS AUSTRALIA (2004), IN THE COMPANY OF ACTORS (2007) and the AFI Award-winning THE OASIS (2008). He is also the founder of Shark Island Institute, Good Pitch Australia and the Documentary Australia Foundation, with all of whom he shares this award.
“All of Ian’s endeavours are about social impact,” said Dr George Miller. “His approach is global and synergistic – uniquely effective in forging strong and productive coalitions of storytellers, filmmakers, funders, distributors, and strategic thinkers.”
Australia’s longest standing national screen culture and industry development organisation, the Ceremony paid homage to the past six decades, including a memorable moment which saw KATH AND KIM’s Gina Riley and Jane Turner reuniting on stage to present the AACTA Award for Best Performance in a Comedy.