Australian Academy Awards nominations: ‘Lion’ and ‘Top of the Lake: China Girl’ lead

Nominations for the seventh annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards were unveiled in Sydney on Oct. 30, with Garth Davis’ “Lion” leading on the film side with 12 nominations, and Jane Campion‘s “Top of the Lake: China Girl” tops among TV fare with 11 nominations.

Nominees include Emmy and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman with two bids (for “Lion” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl”), recent Emmy champ Elisabeth Moss (“Top of the Lake: China Girl”), Toni Collette (for “Blue Murder: Killer Cop,” which tied with Campion’s “Top of the Lake: China Girl” as TV frontrunner with 11 bids), Anthony LaPaglia (“Sunshine”), Hugo Weaving (“Jasper Jones”), and a surprise Best Sound nomination for “The LEGO Batman Movie.”

The Australian academy typically announces nominations for its local industry awards a few weeks before it unveils its International Awards, which are held separately in Los Angeles each year across seven categories: Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress. Those nominations are expected to be revealed in mid-December this year, and will likely include many of the films and performers jostling for attention in this crowded pre-Oscars awards season, as the AACTAs continue to position themselves as an Oscar bellwether like their BAFTA brethren have done in recent years in the mother country.

Two years ago, the Aussie academy showered six-time Oscar winner “Mad Max: Fury Road” with a bounty of awards, as it took home Best Film and Best Direction (George Miller) at the International Awards and a whopping ten awards at the AACTA ceremony held earlier in Sydney. Last year, Oscar contender “Hacksaw Ridge” dominated the field by winning nine awards at the local ceremony and claiming the Best Direction prize for helmer Mel Gibson at the International Awards. Interestingly, “Lion” contended at the International Awards last year too, with supporting performers Kidman and Dev Patel triumphing. “Lion” was however ruled ineligible for the local awards due to its late release date, which is why it had to wait a whole year to return to the AACTA’s local derby this year.

“Lion” was a huge success during last year’s awards season, claiming nominations across the board from critics groups, the Golden Globes, BAFTA, PGA, DGA, SAG and ultimately the Oscars where it received seven nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Luke Davies), Best Supporting Actor (Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Kidman), Best Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka) and Best Cinematography (Greig Fraser). It has become the fifth highest grossing Australian film of all time at the local box office.

On the TV side, the academy nominated a diverse crop of contenders including streaming series “No Activity,” cable hit “Wentworth,” broadcast network sequel “Blue Murder: Killer Cop” and remake “Wake in Fright,” and public broadcaster ABC’s critically acclaimed “Cleverman,” “Glitch” and “Janet King.” But the most noteworthy title on the list is Campion’s Sundance Channel/Foxtel co-production “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the sequel to her Emmy nominated “Top of the Lake,” which is sure to factor this year at the Golden Globes and at next year’s Emmy Awards.

The AACTA Awards will be held in Sydney on December 6th. Below is a full list of the film nominations and the top TV nominations.

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Best Film
“Ali’s Wedding”
“Berlin Syndrome”
“Hounds of Love”
“Jasper Jones”

Best Direction
Jeffrey Walker, “Ali’s Wedding”
Cate Shortland, “Berlin Syndrome”
Ben Young, “Hounds of Love”
Garth Davis, “Lion”

Best Lead Actor
Stephen Curry, “Hounds of Love”
Ewen Leslie, “The Butterfly Tree”
Sunny Pawar, “Lion”
Osamah Sami, “Ali’s Wedding”

Best Lead Actress
Emma Booth, “Hounds of Love”
Teresa Palmer Berlin Syndrome
Helana Sawires, “Ali’s Wedding”
Sara West, “Don’t Tell”

Best Supporting Actor
Don Hany, “Ali’s Wedding”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Jack Thompson, “Don’t Tell”
Hugo Weaving, “Jasper Jones”

Best Supporting Actress
Frances Duca, “Ali’s Wedding”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Jacqueline McKenzie, “Don’t Tell”
Susie Porter, “Hounds of Love”

Best Asian Film
“I Am Not Madame Bovary”
“Kaasav (Turtle)”
“Our Time Will Come”
“Train To Busan”
“Wolf Warrior 2”
“Your Name”

Best Original Screenplay
Andrew Knight, Osamah Sami, “Ali’s Wedding”
Priscilla Cameron, “The Butterfly Tree”
Cris Jones, “The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom”
Ben Young, “Hounds of Love”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Shaun Grant, “Berlin Syndrome”
James Greville, Ursula Cleary, Anne Brooksbank, “Don’t Tell”
Shaun Grant, Craig Silvey, “Jasper Jones”
Luke Davies, “Lion”

Best Cinematography
“Hounds of Love”
“Red Dog: True Blue”

Best Editing
“Australia Day”
“Berlin Syndrome”
“Hounds of Love”

Best Sound
“Jasper Jones”
“Killing Ground”
“The LEGO Batman Movie”

Best Original Music Score
“Ali’s Wedding”
“Berlin Syndrome”
“The Butterfly Tree” Caitlin Yeo
“Lion” Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’halloran

Best Production Design
“Berlin Syndrome”
“The Death and Life of Otto Bloom”
“Jasper Jones”

Best Costume Design
“Berlin Syndrome”
“Dance Academy: The Movie”
“Jasper Jones”

Best Visual Effects or Animation (TV and Film)
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“Game Of Thrones” (“The Spoils of War”)
“The LEGO Batman Movie”

Best Hair and Makeup (TV and Film)
“Blue Murder: Killer Cop”
“Hounds of Love”
“The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One”

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Best Drama Series
“Cleverman” (ABC)
“Glitch” (ABC)
“Janet King Playing Advantage” (ABC)
“Top Of The Lake: China Girl” (BBC First)
“Wentworth” (Showcase)

Best Telefeature or Mini Series
“Blue Murder: Killer Cop” (Seven)
“Seven Types Of Ambiguity” (ABC)
“Sunshine” (SBS)
“Wake In Fright” (Ten)

Best Comedy Series
“No Activity” (Stan)
“Rosehaven” (ABC)
“True Story With Hamish & Andy” (Nine)
“Utopia” (ABC)

Best Light Entertainment Series
“Australian Ninja Warrior” (Nine)
“Gruen” (ABC)
“Hard Quiz” (ABC)
“Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery” (ABC)

Best Lifestyle Program
“Destination Flavour Singapore” (SBS)
“Gourmet Farmer” (SBS)
“Grand Designs Australia” (Lifestyle)
“Selling Houses Australia” (Lifestyle)

Best Reality Series
“Australian Survivor” (Ten)
“Little Big Shots” (Seven)
“Masterchef Australia” (Ten)
“My Kitchen Rules” (Seven)

Best Children’s Series
“Little Lunch – The Specials” (ABC)
“Mustangs FC” (ABC Me)
“Nowhere Boys – Two Moons Rising” (ABC Me)
“The Wild Adventures Of Blinky Bill” (7two)

Best Lead Actor in a Drama
David Dencik, “Top Of The Lake: China Girl”
Sean Keenan, “Wake In Fright”
Richard Roxburgh, “Blue Murder: Killer Cop”
Hugo Weaving, “Seven Types Of Ambiguity”

Best Lead Actress in a Drama
Toni Collette, “Blue Murder: Killer Cop”
Marta Dusseldorp, “Janet King – Playing Advantage”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top Of The Lake: China Girl”
Pamela Rabe, “Wentworth”

Best Performance in a Comedy
Darren Gilshenan, “No Activity”
Debra Lawrance, “Please Like Me”
Celia Pacquola, “Rosehaven”
Rob Sitch, “Utopia”

Best Guest Or Supporting Actor in a Drama
Anthony Lapaglia, “Sunshine”
Ewen Leslie, “Top Of The Lake: China Girl”
Matt Nable, “Blue Murder: Killer Cop”
David Wenham, “Wake In Fright”

Best Guest Or Supporting Actress in a Drama
Emma Booth, “Blue Murder: Killer Cop”
Tina Bursill, “Doctor Doctor”
Andrea Demetriades, “Seven Types Of Ambiguity”
Nicole Kidman, “Top Of The Lake: China Girl”

Best Female Presenter – Subscription Television
Shaynna Blaze, “Selling Houses Australia”
Margaret Pomeranz, “Stage & Screen”
Yvonne Sampson (Fox Sports)
Jess Yates (Fox Sports)

Best Male Presenter – Subscription Television
Paul Murray, “Paul Murray Live”
Neil Oliver, “Coast Australia”
David Speers, “PM Agenda/Speers Tonight”
Andrew Winter, “Selling Houses Australia”

Best Live Event Production – Subscription Television
“The 7th Annual CMC Music Awards”
“Jeff Horn V Manny Pacquiao”
“Paul Murray Live On the Road”

Best New Talent – Subscription Television
Madeleine Clunies-Ross, “A Place to Call Home”
Zahra Newman, “Wentworth”
Matt Okine, “The Other Guy”
George Pullar, “A Place to Call Home”
Susie Youssef, “No Activity”

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