'Promising Young Woman'.

Female-led stories across film and television dominated the AACTA International Awards, with Promising Young Woman, Nomadland, and The Queen’s Gambit leading the winners.

There was also some joy for Australia in the television categories, with three-time AFI AACTA Award nominee Aaron Pedersen marking his first AACTA Award win for his role as detective Jay Swan in Australian outback drama, Mystery Road.

Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman – produced by Margot Robbie and her production house, LuckyChap Entertainment – took out the Award for Best Film, beating out The Father, Minari, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Nomadland.

The story, which tackles the dismantling of toxic masculinity, also received a Best Lead Actress in Film award for Carey Mulligan’s performance.

Robbie considered playing the lead herself as she has done with other LuckyChap projects (I, Tonya, Dreamland) but realised there was a less obvious choice for the protagonist.

Nomadland director Chloe Zhao followed up her win at last week’s Golden Globes with AACTA International Award for Best Direction in Film, becoming the first woman to receive the accolade.

The film, which was adapted from the novel Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, led the overall nominations with six.

AACTA’s awards also mirrored the Globes in the screenplay category, with The Trial of the Chicago 7 writer/director Aaron Sorkin receiving another prize for his script about a group of political activists who were tried for their antiwar activities during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The film also earned Sacha Baron Cohen his first AACTA International Award win for Best Supporting Actor in Film.

Netflix juggernaut The Queen’s Gambit was the big winner in the inaugural global TV categories, taking home two of the four new global TV awards, including Best Drama Series, and Best Actress in a Series for Anya Taylor-Joy, who portrays chess prodigy and orphan, Beth Harmon. 

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said the results were a testament to the depth and excellence being produced globally in film and TV.

“It is particularly special to see Australian powerhouse Margot Robbie behind the scenes on such an important piece of work with Promising Young Woman taking out Best Film,” he said.

“To have started her career in Australia on a soap like Neighbours to now cementing her position as one of Hollywood’s most significant and influential storytellers is incredible.

“It is also wonderful to see an actor like Aaron Pedersen rise up and receive Best Actor in a Series in a category overflowing with extraordinary talent.”

Speaking about his win, Pederson said he was “grateful and humbled” by the award.

“What can I say about my contemporaries nominated for this award except they are some of the greatest actors on the planet, in some of the best shows ever made,” he said.

“I also want to acknowledge the Mystery Road series and what it says about Australia, our true identity and our history.

“I am so proud it is a First Nations series that is the top-rating drama on Australian television.

“Finally, I want to thank my brother Ivan Sen for conceiving of my Mystery Road character, Detective Jay Swan.

“It is the role of a lifetime.”

A highlights package from the virtual awards is available to watch on AACTA’s YouTube channel.

AACTA INTERNATIONAL AWARD NOMINEES & WINNERS

AACTA International Award for Best Film

  • The Father
  • Minari
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

AACTA International Award for Best Direction in Film

  • Pete Docter – Soul
  • Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
  • David Fincher – Mank
  • Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

AACTA International Award for Best Screenplay in Film

  • The Father
  • Mank
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

AACTA International Award for Best Drama Series

  • The Crown
  • I May Destroy You
  • The Mandalorian
  • Mystery Road
  • The Queen’s Gambit 

AACTA International Award for Best Comedy Series

  • After Life
  • The Great
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Sex Education
  • What We Do in the Shadows

AACTA International Award for Best Lead Actor in Film

  • Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Father
  • Gary Oldman – Mank

AACTA International Award for Best Lead Actress in Film

  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
  • Frances McDormand – Nomadland
  • Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
  • Eliza Scanlen – Babyteeth

AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor in Film

  • Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
  • Ben Mendelsohn – Babyteeth
  • Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • David Strathairn – Nomadland

AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actress in Film

  • Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Olivia Colman – The Father
  • Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite
  • Amanda Seyfried – Mank
  • Swankie – Nomadland

AACTA International Award for Best Actor in a Series

  • Jason Bateman – Ozark
  • Hugh Grant – The Undoing
  • Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek
  • Paul Mescal – Normal People
  • Aaron Pedersen – Mystery Road

AACTA International Award for Best Actress in a Series

  • Cate Blanchett – Mrs America
  • Daisy Edgar-Jones – Normal People
  • Nicole Kidman – The Undoing
  • Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek
  • Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit 

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