Australian Accolades Flow for Jacki Weaver, Geoffrey Rush

9:45 PM PST 01/28/2014 by Pip Bulbeck
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Jacki Weaver and Geoffrey Rush were named in the Australia Day honors list, while Weaver will receive the Raymond Longford Award at this week's Australian Academy Awards.

SYDNEY - Jacki Weaver may be absent from this U.S. awards seasons nominations, but the 64-year old Australian actress is piling up the accolades down under.

Weaver was named in the Australia Day honors list on Sunday, as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), one of the country’s highest honors, for service to the performing arts; as a supporter of charity and social welfare programs and as a role model and mentor to young performers.

In addition to Weaver’s Australia Day award, fellow thespian Geoffrey Rush was honored as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). Rush was named by Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce for his "eminent service'' to the arts as an actor and film producer, along with being a role model and mentor for aspiring artists.

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Weaver and Rush both received two of the highest level of awards in the Australia Day honors lists. Nicole Kidman received an AC in 2006.

Then on Monday, Weaver was named as the 2014 Raymond Longford Award recipient by the Australian Academy for Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).  The Raymond Longford Award is the highest recognition the Australian Academy can bestow on an individual, for making an "outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture."

Weaver said of the announcements: "I thought I wasn't old enough. I always think when you get life achievement awards people are suspecting you might be likely to cark it." ("Carking it" is Australian slang for dying.)

"I wasn't expecting the AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) yesterday either," she added.

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The Longford Award will be given to Weaver at Thursday’s AACTA awards ceremony with a tribute to her work showcasing her 50-year career; including 60s bandstand footage, her iconic and classic Australian cinema roles in the 1970's and her recent head-turning performances from films like Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook. The tribute will be broadcast that evening on Network Ten.

Announcing Weaver as the Raymond Longford Award recipient, Alan Finney, Australian Film Institute and AACTA chair said, "I have had the pleasure of knowing Jacki for many years and consider her both a peer and a friend. Over the decades we have seen the Australian film and television industry develop and connect to a global industry and like many I am full of admiration for Jacki's commitment to her craft, her ability and her continued success both here and now abroad.

"She has been a mentor to so many young performers and those involved in the challenging world of theater and film and I am delighted that she is has been chosen as an AACTA Raymond Longford Award recipient. I sincerely believe she is a most appropriate recipient."

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