The Australian Academy Of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has crowned its winners for 2021, with Justin Kurzel’s Nitram scooping the Best Film award among eight total prizes.
The movie, which debuted at Cannes, recounts the factors leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia. The pic also won Best Director for Kurzel, Best Lead Actor for Caleb Landry Jones, and Best Lead Actress for Judy Davis.
Presenting the Lead Actress prize, Sam Neill delivered one of the better jokes of the evening. Referencing the recent trend of dropping gender specific acting awards at ceremonies, Neill commented it was “a really bad idea” because“if men were put up against women actors they’d wipe the bloody floor with us”.
Nitram also picked up Best Supporting Actor for Anthony LaPaglia, Best Supporting Actress for Essie Davis, Best Original Screenplay for Shaun Grant, and Best Editing for Nick Fenton.
Russell Crowe attended the ceremony in person to deliver the opening speech, urging the crowd to “to be as political as you want to be” in their speeches. The actor said artists have “the license to overthrow empires” and to “hold mirrors to hypocrisy”.
The Dry Eric Bana received the inaugural AACTA Audience Choice Award, with the prize presented by Succession star Sarah Snook and actor/director Simon Baker. “What do I get with this?” Bana joked on stage. The Dry also won the Audience Award for Favourite Film, while Wentworth won Favourite Television Drama.
Tributes were paid on the night to Australian film and TV figures including David Gulpilil, the actor who died recently at the age of 68.
The Newsreader was the big winner on the TV side, taking home four prizes including Best Drama and Best Direction.
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