Elizabeth Debicki, Bill Mechanic, Bruna Papandrea to Receive Australians in Film Awards

Elizabeth Debicki in 'The Great Gatsby'

The guild's honors celebrate the achievements of Aussies in Hollywood.

Elizabeth Debicki and producers Bruna Papandrea and Bill Mechanic will receive special awards at the annual Australians in Film (AIF) awards gala to be held on Oct. 25, the Los Angeles-based guild announced Tuesday.

Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon's partner in production shingle Pacific Standard and producer of films such as Milk, Wild and Gone Girl, will receive the guild's top honor, the Orry Kelly Award, for paving the way for other Australians in the entertainment industry and providing support, mentoring and inspiration to others.

"Bruna is the perfect recipient for this year’s Virgin Australia Orry Kelly International Award," said Tracey Vieira, chairman of Australians in Film. "Her international career has been extraordinary, and it continues at great speed, with an HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman about to go into production, and an output deal with ABC studios recently signed. Bruna has always been a very vocal supporter of Australia and of Australians in the industry. She is always open to helping emerging talent and AiF is thrilled to honor her with this award."

The award is named for costume designer Orry Kelly, one of the first Australians to succeed in Hollywood, who won three Academy Awards for Les Girls (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959) and An American in Paris (1951). Kelly is the subject of Gillian Armstrong's latest documentary, Women He’s Undressed, which will have its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next week.

Debicki will be honored as the breakthrough star of 2015, following her roles in Guy Ritchie’s Man from U.N.C.L.E, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and in Everest. She first came to notice in Stephan Elliot’s A Few Best Men, following which Baz Luhrmann cast her in The Great Gatsby.

"Elizabeth Debicki has catapulted onto the world screen with stand-out performances over the past couple of years. This year she has scored coveted roles in some great films, working with such talented directors as Guy Ritchie and Justin Kurzel. She is a great ambassador for the Australian film industry and we are thrilled to be honoring her," said Simonne Overend, AIF's president.  

Mechanic, chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films, will be the recipient of this year’s Ausfilm International Award, which honors an individual’s contribution to the Australian film industry.

Mechanic is currently in Sydney prepping for Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, which goes into production this month, after making The Moon and the Sun, starring Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt and Paul Currie’s 2:22 in Australia in recent times. Through Pandemonium, Mechanic has produced the Oscar-nominated Coraline, Terence Malick’s The New World, and Walter Salles’s Dark Water. Mechanic was chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment for seven years.

"Bill Mechanic has consistently recognized the outstanding talent to come out of Australia,” Debra Richards, CEO of Ausfilm said. “From his time at Fox where he greenlit films such as Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, to his current slate of movies, Bill Mechanic has always been a great supporter of Australian talent in front of and behind the camera."

Australians in Film is the Los Angeles-based industry guild for Australian filmmakers and performers in the U.S. Its annual awards are designed to celebrate the achievements of Australians working in Hollywood and also recognizes the contribution of individuals to the Australian film industry.

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