Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge' Sweeps Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards

Mel Gibson AACTA - Getty - H 2016
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The epic WWII film won a total of 9 AACTAs out of 13 nominations, including best film and best director.

If 2015 was the year of Mad Max at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, 2016 belongs to the original Mad Max Rockatansky, actor-director Mel Gibson after his WWII epic Hacksaw Ridge swept the awards with nine wins from 13 nominations, including best film and best director.

Gibson’s visceral tale of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss was triumphant at the 6th annual AACTAs, with stars Andrew Garfield and Hugo Weaving also picking up best actor and best supporting actor awards respectively. Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan also won for best original screenplay for the film.

The five gongs the film picked up on Wednesday at the Sydney ceremony added to the four Hacksaw Ridge won at the craft awards ceremony on Monday.

Gibson, who last won accolades as a director two decades ago for Braveheart, was emotional in his acceptance speech. "I'm really honored and choked up, I can't even talk," he said. “I’d like to thank Australia for making this film. All the way up and down it's a homegrown film, he added.  

Hacksaw Ridge stars Garfield and Weaving also paid tribute to the veteran. Garfield said in a pre-recorded message, "It would not have been the film it is without Mel. His brilliance, passion and his ability to make everyone feel as valuable as each other, really, the Australian in him."

"It was wonderful to work with you, Mel, as a director," Weaving said, also accepting his award by video. "I've never seen a crew or a cast so enamored with their director."

At the craft awards handed out at a lunch on Monday, Hacksaw Ridge took out honors in four of the six categories in which it was nominated. They included wins for Oscar and BAFTA nominee John Gilbert for best editing; Barry Robison for best production design and Simon Duggan ACS for best cinematography. Also winning for Hacksaw Ridge were Andrew Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Mario Vaccaro, Tara Webb and Peter Grace ASSG, who won the AACTA Award for best sound.

Elsewhere Simon Stone’s The Daughter rounded out the acting awards with 18-year-old Odessa Young winning best actor in her feature film debut and Miranda Otto winning best supporting actress, alongside Young.  

Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan accepted his previously announced award as the Lyell Longford winner to a standing ovation. That award recognizes an individual who has made “a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.” Isla Fisher was named the 2016 Trailblazer award recipient. Virtual reality pioneer Lynette Wallworth received the Byron Kennedy Award, and Oscar winner Eva Orner won best feature documentary for her look at he plight of refugees seeking to come to Australia in Chasing Asylum.