Focus on the Feature Film Nominees

On Wednesday last week (30 November 2011), the newly established Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced all nominees for the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards, which will be held in January 2012. You can see a full list of the nominees here on the gorgeous new AACTA website.

Entrants, industry guests and media were present at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) for the announcement of the nominees. The internationally awarded animator, writer and director Adam Elliot was the genial and very funny host of the procedings. He was joined on stage by actors Alexandra Schepisi, Daniel Henshall and Claudia Karvan, who announced the nominees in various categories. These three also happened to be nominated for their own work this year: Schepisi for her role as the sparky nurse in The Eye of the Storm; Henshall for his chilling performance as a serial killer in Snowtown; and Karvan for Spirited, Season 2, the Foxtel drama series on which she is producer and writer, as well as the star. A gallery of photos from the event can be viewed here on the AACTA Facebook page.

Claudia Karvan, Daniel Henshall, Alexandra Schepisi, AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella and Adam Elliot at the Samsung AACTA Nominations Announcement, November 30 2011.

The announcement of all the nominees confirmed the strength of Australian film and television in 2011. Highlighting the reach and diversity of production this year, the nominations are spread across 14 Feature Films (out of a possible 21), 14 Documentaries, four Short Animations, six Short Fiction Films and 23 Television Productions.

The AFI and AACTA congratulate all the nominees. We will be giving them all some ‘blog love’ in the coming weeks leading up to the Samsung AACTA Awards in January. Right now, however, it’s time to put the spotlight on the Feature Film nominees, with a view to round two voting, which is now open to all AACTA members until Wednesday 14 December, and involves AACTA members voting on all these Feature Film nominees, with the exception of the Best Young Actor and Visual Effects categories, which are decided by Jury.*


The six Feature Films nominated for the prestigious Samsung AACTA Award for Best Film (in alphabetical order) are:

  • The Eye Of The Storm
  • The Hunter
  • Mad Bastards
  • Oranges And Sunshine
  • Snowtown

In a result that confirms the AFI members are in close concert with the professional AACTA members, the same six Feature Films are nominated for the AFI Members’ Choice Award, though in different order of preference.

Throughout the year, we’ve covered many of these films with interviews and Q&As during their time of release. Below are the nominated films, with details of which awards each film is nominated for, along with ‘Further Reading’ links to any editorial content we’ve published relating to those films.

The Eye Of The Storm is nominated for twelve AACTA Awards: Best Film; AFI Members’ Choice (Antony Waddington, Gregory Read, Fred Schepisi); Best Direction (Fred Schepisi); Best Adapted Screenplay (Judy Morris); Best Production Design (Melinda Doring); Best Costume Design (Terry Ryan); Best Lead Actor (Geoffrey Rush); Best Lead Actress (Judy Davis); Best Lead Actress (Charlotte Rampling); Best Supporting Actor (John Gaden); Best Supporting Actress (Helen Morse); Best Supporting Actress (Alexandra Schepisi). Further reading: Interview with director Fred Schepisi.

The Hunter is nominated for fourteen AACTA Awards: Best Film (Vincent Sheehan); AFI Members’ Choice (Vincent Sheehan); Best Direction (Daniel Nettheim); Best Adapted Screenplay (Alice Addison); Best Cinematography (Robert Humphreys); Best Sound (Sam Petty, David Lee, Robert Mackenzie, Les Fiddess MPSE, Tony Murtagh, Tom Heuzenroeder); Best Original Music Score (Matteo Zingales, Michael Lira, Andrew Lancaster); Best Production Design (Steven Jones-Evans); Best Costume Design (Emily Seresin); Best Lead Actor (Willem Dafoe); Best Lead Actress (Frances O’Connor); Best Supporting Actor (Sam Neill); Best Supporting Actress (Morgana Davies); Best Visual Effects (Felix Crawshaw, James Rogers). Further reading: Director Daniel Nettheim interviewed .

Mad Bastards is nominated for five AACTA Awards: Best Film (David Jowsey, Alan Pigram, Stephen Pigram, Brendand Fletcher); AFI Members’ Choice (David Jowsey, Alan Pigram, Stephen Pigram, Brendan Fletcher); Best Original Screenplay (Brendan Fletcher, Dean Daley-Jones, Greg Tait, John Watson); Best Sound (Phil Judd, Nick Emond, Johanna Emond); Best Young Actor (Lucas Yeeda). Further reading: Trespass interview with director Brendan Fletcher.

Oranges And Sunshine is nominated for seven AACTA Awards: Best Film (Camilla Bray, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning); AFI Members’ Choice (Camilla Bray, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning); Best Editing (Dany Cooper); Best Costume Design (Cappi Ireland); Best Lead Actor (David Wenham); Best Lead Actress (Emily Watson); Best Supporting Actor (David Wenham). Further reading: Lead actress Emily Watson interviewed.

RED DOG is nominated for eight AACTA Awards: Best Film (Nelson Woss, Julie Ryan); AFI Members’ Choice (Nelson Woss, Julie Ryan); Best Direction (Kriv Stenders); Best Adapted Screenplay (Daniel Taplitz); Best Cinematography (Geoffrey Hall); Best Editing (Jill Bilcock); Best Original Music Score (Cezary Skubiszewski); Best Production Design (Ian Gracie). Further reading: An interview with director Kriv Stenders.

Snowtown is nominated for ten AACTA Awards: Best Film (Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw); AFI Members’ Choice (Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw); Best Direction (Justin Kurzel); Best Adapted Screenplay (Shaun Grant); Best Cinematography (Adam Arkapaw); Best Editing (Veronika Jenet); Best Sound (Frank Lipson MPSE, Andrew McGrath, Des Kenneally, Michael Carden, John Simpson, Erin McKimm); Best Original Music Score (Jed Kurzel); Best Lead Actor (Daniel Henshall); Best Lead Actress (Louise Harris). Further reading: A round-table chat with with actors Daniel Henshall, Louise Harris and Lucas Pittaway.

Completing the slate of Feature Films competing for the country’s most esteemed screen awards are eight other feature films:

Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole is nominated for three AACTA Awards: Best Sound (Wayne Pashley, Derryn Pasquill, Polly McKinnon, Fabian Sanjurjo, Phil Heywood, Peter Smith); Best Original Music Score (David Hirschfelder) and Best Visual Effects (Grant Freckelton).

Sleeping Beauty is nominated for three AACTA Awards: Best Cinematography (Geoffrey Simpson, ACS ); Best Production Design (Annie Beauchamp); and Best Costume Design (Shareen Beringer). Extra reading: Director Julia Leigh talks about creating ‘A Sense of Wonder’.

Face To Face is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Supporting Actor (Robert Rabiah).

Griff The Invisible is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Original Screenplay (Leon Ford). Extra reading: Quick Quizzes with writer-director Leon Ford and lead actress Maeve Dermody.

The Loved Ones is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Original Screenplay (Sean Byrne). Extra reading: ‘Pink Glitter and Blood’ – an interview with writer-director Sean Byrne.

Red Hill is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Original Screenplay (Patrick Hughes).

Sanctum is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Visual Effects (David Booth, Peter Webb, Ineke Majoor, Glenn Melenhorst).

Wasted On The Young is nominated for one AACTA Award: Best Editing (Leanne Cole). Further reading: an interview with editor Leanne Cole as part of our 2010 focus on editing. A Q&A with writer and director Ben C. Lucas.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch the competition between these fine films. Remember, if you’re an AACTA member, your vote on these nominees determines the winners, so don’t forget to excercise your voting priveleges before the close of round 2 voting on Wednesday 14 December.

* For further information on voting, please see the voting section of the AACTA website.

4 thoughts on “Focus on the Feature Film Nominees

  1. I am still annoyed that all the films are screened only in the Eastern states and have difficulty buying the “can’t afford it” argument, when previous screening pulled fair crowds even with inadequate advanced notice and publicity.
    As an alternative, why can’t we be offered a limited edition dvd collection of all films in competition? I’d certainly pay extra for that.

    • Hi Linda, it is certainly unfortunate, but it was an extremely costly exercise and our records show very poor attendances at most screenings. I will pass on your suggestion re DVDs. Thanks for continuing to engage with the AFI | AACTA. Which State are you in, and are you an AFI or AACTA member? Let me know [editor [at]] and I will try to organise something nice for you. – Rochelle

  2. DId AFI/AACTA consider that by moving the awards to Jan 2012, the Australian results might be overshadowed by the Golden Globes and other awards presented in the US? Australia wants to be a player during awards season with the likes of Oscar and BFI but at what cost? Most Oz Best Picture nominees (Red Dog, Snowtown, The Hunter, The Eye of the Storm) have not been released yet in the US. One nominee, The Eye of the Storm, is still seeking a buyer for the US. When AACTA announces its winners at The Sydney Opera House, will anyone outside of Australia care when the media’s attention will be on the Golden Globes winners and films that are in the running for Oscar?

    • Dear Bob,
      Thanks for your post.
      One of AACTA’s stated aims is to increase recognition both at home and abroad for Australia’s practitioners, performers and productions. AACTA has therefore strategically timed its inaugural Awards to fall at the start of the international Awards season for a variety of reasons.
      Firstly, there exists a clear precedent for films which have been awarded under the AFI to then go on to be nominated or awarded internationally (Jacki Weaver’s AFI Awards success followed by an Oscar nomination last year is one such example), so by holding our Awards closer to the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Oscars we are promoting Australia’s outstanding productions and practitioners at the best time of the year to gain international attention and recognition.
      Secondly, we recently announced the AACTA International Engagement Program, which includes new AACTA International Awards (recognising screen excellence regardless of geography) and a new collaboration with G’Day USA (which allows us to promote our International Awards at one of LA’s most popular celebrations of Australian culture and the arts – the G’Day USA LA Black Tie Gala, held in mid-January). This again supports the timing of our Awards to now take place within the international Awards season, providing more opportunities to draw international attention to our talented industry.
      Ultimately, by increasing international recognition for our screen productions and people, we are hoping to increase the likelihood that great Australian content is indeed picked up by international buyers, providing more audiences the chance to connect with fantastic Australian stories.
      Kind regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s