Russell Crowe, Jennifer Kent Debuts Share Best Film at the Australian Academy Awards

'The Water Diviner' and 'The Babadook' split the top prize at the ceremony hosted by Cate Blanchett and Deborah Mailman in Sydney.

Jennifer Kent’s acclaimed horror film, The Babadook, has tied with Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, for best film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, Australia’s pre-eminent film and TV awards, announced in Sydney on Thursday local time.

Kent also took home the AACTA Awards for best direction and best original screenplay for The Babadook, one year after her low budget thriller film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Dual winners for best film is unusual but not unprecedented according to Damian Trewhella, CEO of the AACTA.

"Whilst we had the extraordinary advent of seeing two feature films honoured with the AACTA Award for Best Film, this is not unprecedented, with AFI voting resulting in ties in the past, and international awards also having seen this result, including just last year when the Producers Guild of America (PGA) saw a tie in voting for Gravity and 12 Years a Slave," he said. "I take this result as a mark of considered voting by our Academy members, and I’m pleased that two outstanding films can share the honor of winning this award in a year of strong competition."

The acting awards were evenly spread.  Veteran Australian indigenous actor David Gulpilil won best actor for his role in Charlie’s Country, adding to his Cannes Film Festival best actor award for the same film and receiving a standing ovation from the audience, while Predestination’s gender-bending star Sarah Snook won best actress. Turkish star Yilmaz Erdogan won best supporting actor for The Water Diviner and Susan Prior won best supporting actress for her role in David Michod’s The Rover.

Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man was awarded best adapted screenplay, whilst The Lego Movie was the winner for best visual effects or animation, despite (or perhaps because of) its Oscar snub.

The award for best feature length documentary went to Ukraine Is Not A Brothel.

Also at the star studded ceremony, AACTA president Geoffrey Rush awarded Bridesmaids star Rose Byrne the inaugural Trailblazer Award.

Other special awards went to director, producer and writer Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Ruin and Hail) who won the Byron Kennedy Award, which includes an AUS$10,000 ($8,000) prize, for outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television  industries.

The Australian Academy’s top award, the Longford Lyell award went to veteran writer and producers, Andrew Knight a co-writer on The Water Diviner and a raft of other key Australian film and TV dramas spanning several decades.

The AACTA will hand out its international awards at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The full list of  Feature Film Winners for the AACTA Awards is:

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST FILM

The Babadook  Kristina Ceyton and Kristian Moliere- Winner
Charlie's Country
Nils Erik Nielsen, Peter Djigirr and Rolf de Heer
Predestination Paddy McDonald, Tim McGahan, Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig
The Railway Man Chris Brown, Andy Paterson and Bill Curbishley
Tracks Emile Sherman and Iain Canning
The Water DivinerAndrew Mason, Keith Rodger and Troy Lum - Winner

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTION

The Babadook Jennifer Kent - Winner
Charlie's Country Rolf de Heer
Predestination Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig
The Rover David Michôd

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTOR

Russell Crowe The Water Diviner
David Gulpilil Charlie's Country - Winner
Damon Herriman The Little Death
Guy Pearce The Rover

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTRESS

Kate Box The Little Death
Essie Davis The Babadook
Sarah Snook Predestination - Winner
Mia Wasikowska Tracks 

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Patrick Brammall The Little Death
Yilmaz Erdogan The Water Diviner - Winner
Robert Pattinson The Rover
TJ Power The Little Death

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Erin James The Little Death
Jacqueline McKenzie The Water Diviner
Kate Mulvany The Little Death
Susan Prior The Rover - Winner

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

52 Tuesdays Matthew Cormack and Sophie Hyde
The BabadookJennifer Kent - Winner
Charlie's Country Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil
The Water Diviner Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Predestination Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
The Railway Man Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson - Winner

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Fell Marden Dean
Predestination Ben Nott ACS - Winner
The Railway Man Gary Phillips ACS
Tracks Mandy Walker ASC ACS

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST EDITING

52 Tuesdays Bryan Mason
The Babadook Simon Njoo
PredestinationMatt Villa ASE- Winner
The Water Diviner
Matt Villa ASE

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SOUND

Charlie's Country James Currie and Tom Heuzenroeder
Felony William Ward, Andrew Plain, Grant Shepherd and Robert Mackenzie
The Railway Man Andrew Plain, Gethin Creagh, Craig Walmsley and Colin Nicolson
TheRover Sam Petty, Des Kenneally, Justine Angus, Brooke Trezise, Francis Ward Lindsay and
Robert Mackenzie - Winner

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE

Healing David Hirschfelder
Predestination Peter Spierig
The Railway Man David Hirschfelder- Winner
The Rover
Antony Partos and Sam Petty

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Babadook Alex Holmes
PredestinationMatthew Putland - Winner
The Rover Jo Ford
The Water Diviner Christopher Kennedy

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Predestination Wendy Cork
The Railway Man Lizzy Gardiner
Tracks Mariot Kerr
The Water Diviner Tess Schofield - Winner

 

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