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.

Guest Post: Paul Anthony Nelson introduces WHY I ADORE: AFI EDITION.

angry person image

Ah, the Internet. It’s brought the world together, changed the way we communicate and given everyone a global voice. Trouble is, for the ‘first world’ Film and TV fan, it’s also given birth to the phenomenon of the Troll. You know the ones: disproportionate sense of entitlement fused with a perpetual state of cynicism and negativity, prone to personal insults and general buzzkill. Yet, so prevalent are these attitudes, they’ve found their way into mainstream media discourse.

The only house rule? NO NEGATIVITY. We’re here to celebrate what moves us and, perhaps, bring positivity back in style.

And you know what? I’m tired of it.

So I created WHY I ADORE, a blog with the sole aim of welcoming people to write about something they love about film and television, in defiant response to this pervasive culture of hate and snark. Guest writers can gush about any aspect they choose:

A film. TV show. Actor. Filmmaker. Technician. Scene. Shot. Genre. Period of time…

Almost a year after starting the website, it’s my honour and privilege to launch our first spin-off: WHY I ADORE: AFI EDITION, where Australian film and TV practitioners and fans wax rhapsodic about their filmic objects of adoration! WHY I ADORE seems right at home at the AFI, an institution devoted to celebrating our nation’s screen achievements. What’s more, they were crazy enough to let me kick it off…

Continue reading

Sweet, funny, serious: Maeve Dermody and Leon Ford take on the AFI Quick Quiz

March 17 saw the national release of Griff the Invisible, an Australian romantic comedy with a spunky superhero twist. The feature debut from writer-director Leon Ford stars Ryan Kwanten as Griff, a mild-mannered office worker with quixotic dreams of saving the world. He falls in love with a Melody (Maeve Dermody), a girl as delightfully odd as himself.

In celebration of the film’s release, we posed the new AFI Quick Quiz* to the film’s lead actress, Maeve Dermody and filmmaker Leon Ford. What turns them on? What turns them off? What was the film that changed their lives? Find out here.

Maeve Dermody

Maeve Dermody

Maeve Dermody

Now a local acting sensation, Maeve made her feature film debut in 1993 with Breathing Under Water. Since then, she’s performed on both stage and screen and has earned two Best Supporting Actress AFI Award nominations for her roles in Black Water (2008) and Beautiful Kate (2009). Fresh off the stage from Company B Belvoir’s latest production of Measure for Measure, Dermody is now celebrating her turn as the eccentric and scientifically minded Melody in Griff the Invisible.

Q: What’s your favourite word?
A: Vastidity [vastness, immensity]

Q: What’s your least favourite word?
A: Babe

Q: What turns you on?
A: Laughter

Q: What turns you off?
A: Bad punctutation

Q: What sound or noise do you love?
A: The sound of a bath running.

Q: What sound or noise do you hate?
A: Jack-hammer

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A: Author/writer

Q: What profession would you not like to do?
A: Air Hostess

Q: The last film or DVD you watched?
A: Father of my Children

Q: The film that changed you, and why?
A: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – it’s deeply intelligent while also being funny, honest and moving.

Q: Your guilty television pleasure?

A: True Blood – although I don’t feel so guilty about it.

Q:Can you name three key mentors who’ve inspired or helped you?
A: My Mum, my high school English teacher and the author Siri Hustvedt via her writing.

Q: Complete this sentence: The thing I love about working in the Australian film and television industry is…A: …we are constantly given the chance to reinvent ourselves.

Continue reading