Australian International Academy Awards: Oscar frontrunner ‘La La Land’ wins Best Picture

Oscar frontrunner “La La Land” won Best Picture at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) International Awards on Friday (Jan. 6). Among the films it edged out were two that were made Down Under — “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Lion” — as well as “Arrival” and “Manchester by the Sea.” And “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone won Best Actress over, among others, her main Oscar rival Natalie Portman (“Jackie”).

“Manchester by the Sea” had come into the evening with a leading six nominations and won in two Oscar races in which it is predicted to prevail: Best Actor (Casey Affleck) and Screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan). Lonergan lost the Best Director race to one of Australia’s most famous exports, Mel Gibson, for his comeback picture “Hacksaw Ridge.”

That war drama had swept last month’s Australian Academy Awards, winning nine prizes including Best Picture. “Lion,” which won’t compete at these domestic kudos until next year, won both supporting acting prizes here for Aussie Nicole Kidman and England’s Dev Patel.

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Winners were decided by 140 or Australian filmmakers (including the Oscar-winning AACTA president Geoffrey Rush). About half of these voters also cast ballots for the Oscars and BAFTAs and their roster also includes members of the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which doles out the Golden Globe Awards.

Last year, “Mad Max: Fury Road” won Best Picture and Director (George Miller) at the International Awards after storming the home-grown edition by winning a whopping 10 AACTA Awards. While it lost those two races at the Oscars, it did win six of its 10 bids there: Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling,Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

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This international kudofest was introduced to give Australian filmmakers and artists a voice in the noisy precursor period to the Oscars. Like their BAFTA brethren in the mother country, the weeks leading up to the Oscar nominations announcement sees numerous groups vie for attention and Oscar prognostication bragging rights.

Last year these awards foresaw wins for the “Spotlight” screenplay, Mark Rylance as Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies” and Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor for “The Revenant.” Four out of the five films nominated as Best Picture by the Aussies last year (“The Big Short,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant” and “Spotlight”) went on to contend for the top prize at the Oscars, with only “Carol” being snubbed

The sixth annual edition of these awards took place at The Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 6. The full list of winners and nominees is below.

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Best Picture
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
X – “La La Land”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director
Denis Villenueve, “Arrival”
X – Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Garth Davis, “Lion”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Actor
X – Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Joel Edgerton, “Loving”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

 Best Actress
Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
X – Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
X – Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
X – Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”
Teresa Palmer, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Best Screenplay
Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Taylor Sheridan, “Hell or High Water”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Luke Davis, “Lion”
X – Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictionsWeigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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