She described him as “an inspiration, a teacher, a first-rate singer and a man of deep culture”.
Reflecting the importance of Gulpilil to the industry, rapper Baker Boy, actors Jack Thompson, Hugh Jackman, Natasha Wanganeen, Bryan Brown and Jai Courtney and directors Rachel Perkins, Phil Noyce, Rolf de Heer and Baz Luhrmann also rendered tribute.
With a largely masked audience clearly enjoying returning to a live awards show, the big presenters included Academy President Russell Crowe, Taika Waititi and Rebel Wilson.
In the television categories, the ABC The news reader, set in a 1980s TV newsroom, won five awards, including Best Drama Series. Anna Torv, who played the role of a featured presenter, took home the award for best lead actress in a drama and William McInnes, who was the boss of the newsroom on bullying, took home the award for best supporting actor.
And after the ABC Fisk Won Best Narrative Comedy Series at previous Industry Awards, co-creator Kitty Flanagan, who plays a fallen lawyer forced to work in a shabby suburban business, was named Best Comedy Performer.
The risk of making a film about the disturbing events leading up to the Port Arthur massacre was justified when Nitrame triumph. Much of it was shot under the radar in Victoria rather than Tasmania given lingering sensitivities around the tragedy.
While Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein was among those who raised concerns about the film after learning that it was in the making, Nitrame was seen as a sensitive and nagging drama about the need for gun control – winning the Best Actor award – when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
American Caleb Landry Jones, who played a troubled young man known only as Nitram, again won the award for best actor, with best actress going to Judy Davis, who played his mother.
Anthony LaPaglia, who played his father, and Essie Davis, who was a struggling heiress who befriended him, won the Supporting Actor Awards, with Nick Fenton taking home Best Editing.
Kurzel, who had previously won the award for best director for another disturbing drama in Snow town, said it took courage to make the film and thanked those who supported him. Rather than feeling elation or triumph, he said after the awards that he would always be mindful of the sensitivity of telling the story and described Nitrame like “a really hard movie” to make.
“I felt really tense about it, but I’m truly honored that the industry is feeling tonight like a film that opened up an important conversation about gun reform in Australia.”
Nitrame draws attention to the fact that there are now more guns in Australia than at the time of the massacre, despite the crackdown that followed. Kurzel believes reform is needed again.
“What happened at the time in terms of gun reform was incredibly important and I was as shocked as anyone to find that these rules had been relaxed,” he said. “We need to make sure Australia in the future has the toughest gun reforms in the world.”
The high-end western Heights, who led the nominations for the films, won only Best Costume Design for Erin Roche and Best Casting for Anousha Zarkesh.
The ABC has won numerous awards with Fires win the best mini-series or TV movie, Difficult questionnaire best comedy entertainment program, Retirement home for 4 years old best documentary or factual program, Love on the spectrum best factual entertainment program, blue Best Children’s Program and Rachel Griffiths Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series for Total control.
The best reality show went to Network Ten’s MasterChef Australia, with Foxtel’s Great Drawings Australia collecting the best lifestyle program.
While Foxtel’s black comedy Mr. in-between has a relatively low profile, prices continued the remarkable rise of previously little-known Scott Ryan.
After writing and playing the role of a suburban hitman in all 26 episodes over three seasons – his only credits other than the 2005 short film that inspired the series – Ryan won the award for best lead actor in a TV Series and Best TV Script.
In the prizes voted on by the public, Eric Bana won the favorite actor, The dry favorite movie, Wentworth favorite tv drama, Lego Masters Australia favorite competitive reality show, Sooshi Mango favorite digital comedy creator, Gardening Australia Costa Georgiadis’ favorite entertainment show and favorite TV host.
AND THE WINNERS ARE …
Best film Nitrame
Better orientation Justin Kurzel, Nitram
Best actress Judy Davis, Nitrame
Best actor Caleb Landry Jones, Nitrame
Best Supporting Actress Essie Davis, Nitrame
Best Supporting Actor Anthony La Paglia, Nitrame
Best Adapted Scenario Rob Connolly and Harry Cripps, The dry
Best Original Screenplay Shaun Grant, Nitrame
Best Television Drama Series The news reader (ABC)
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie Fires (ABC)
Best Leading Actress in a Television Series Anna Torv, The news reader
Best Lead Actor in a Television Series Scott Ryan, Mr. in-between
Best factual entertainment program Love on the spectrum (ABC)
Best Comedy Entertainment Program Difficult questionnaire (ABC)
Best reality program MasterChef Australia (Ten)
Best entertainment program Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 (SBS)
Best Children’s Program blue (ABC)
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