Sunny Pawar in ‘Lion’.
Garth Davis’ debut feature Lion was the pride of this year’s AACTA Awards, winning in each of the 12 categories it was nominated, including Best Film and Best Direction.
Having already won seven awards at Monday’s industry luncheon, the film took home another five at last night’s ceremony, including Best Lead Actor for nine year old Sunny Pawar, the youngest ever winner in the category. Dev Patel took home Best Supporting Actor and Nicole Kidman Best Supporting Actress.
It was one of two gongs for Kidman, who also picked up Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for her role in fellow See Saw Films production Top of the Lake: China Girl.
In his acceptance speech for Best Film, Lion producer Emile Sherman thanked the Brierley family for the chance to tell their story, and director Davis “whose humanity is in every frame of the film.”
“It has been so gratifying to see an all-Australian story storm the world stage,” he said.
He also said that Lion “could not have been made” without Screen Australia and the Producer Offset. “They are the essential building blocks of our industry. The economic and cultural dividends that come from our storytelling are just enormous. We need to cherish it and particularly put the brakes on piracy.”
Fellow Lion producer Angie Fielder used her speech to acknowledge the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations in the industry.
“As a film that was partly funded by The Weinstein Company it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge tonight the incredible bravery of the women and men who have come forward to break the silence about sexual harassment and assault in our industry. Hopefully this marks a time of change. It’s really encouraging to see the industry taking a stand, so let’s keep talking about it. That’s how we’ll make real change.”
Emma Booth took home the remaining feature film award for Best Lead Actress for her role as a serial killer in Hounds of Love .
In television, Top of The Lake: China Girl won four awards, including Best Television Drama, Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for Kidman, Best Lead Actress for Elisabeth Moss and Best Guest or Supporting Actor went to Ewen Leslie.
SBS drama Sunshine took home best Best Telefeature or Mini Series, and writer Jacquelin Perske took home Best Screenplay in Television for Seven Types of Ambiguity.
Hugo Weaving won his first AACTA television award for his role as psychiatrist Alex in Seven Types, and Celia Pacquola won her third consecutive AACTA Award, taking home Best Performance in a Television Comedy for Rosehaven.
Director Phillip Noyce received a standing ovation as he was presented the Longford Lyell Award, AACTA’s highest honour.
In his speech, he thanked everyone who had ever contributed tax in Australia.
“Everyone who has is a stakeholder in this industry. Without each and everyone one of you, we’d be back in the ‘50s and the ‘60s when I was growing up and it was practically impossible to hear an Australian voice or to see ourselves up there on the silver screen.”
Later, Noyce said one of the most common questions asked of him how to break into the film industry. He relayed advice that he had received early in his career – that anyone can make a movie – noting that with today’s technology it is easier than ever before.
“All you need is an iPhone, an idea and courage, so go and do it.”
Among the other major awards of the night were Trailblazer Award, which went to actor and director Simon Baker, and the $10,000 Byron Kennedy Award, which went to Bentley Dean and Martin Butler.
The inaugural award for Best Asian Film went to Indian sports drama Dangal.
The full list of winners from the AACTA Awards Ceremony:
AACTA LONGFORD LYELL AWARD
- Phillip Noyce
AACTA TRAILBLAZER AWARD
- Simon Baker
BYRON KENNEDY AWARD
- Martin Butler, Bentley Dean
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEVISION DRAMA SERIES
- TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Jane Campion, Philippa Campbell, Libby Sharpe – Foxtel/BBC First
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEFEATURE OR MINI SERIES
- SUNSHINE Ian Collie, Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw – SBS
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION SERIES
- AUSTRALIAN NINJA WARRIOR Julie Ward, Mark Barlin, Sophia Mogford – Nine Network
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LIFESTYLE TELEVISION PROGRAM
- SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA Geoff Fitzpatrick, Duane Hatherly – Foxtel/Lifestyle
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST REALITY TELEVISION SERIES
- MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA Marty Benson, Adam Fergusson, Tim Toni – Network Ten
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
- Hugo Weaving SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
- Elisabeth Moss TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL – Foxtel/BBC First
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TELEVISION COMEDY
- Celia Pacquola ROSEHAVEN – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST GUEST OR SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
- Ewen Leslie TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL – Foxtel/BBC First
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST GUEST OR SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
- Nicole Kidman TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL – Foxtel/BBC First
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY IN TELEVISION
- SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY Episode 2 – Alex Jacquelin Perske – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST FILM PRESENTED BY FOXTEL
- LION Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Angie Fielder
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTION
- LION Garth Davis
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTOR
- Sunny Pawar LION
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTRESS
- Emma Booth HOUNDS OF LOVE
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Dev Patel LION
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Nicole Kidman
BEST ASIAN FILM AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ASIAN FILM PRESENTED BY PR ASIA
- DANGAL Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
(Industry Luncheon winners are here).