Oz critics laud 'Canoes,' 'Jindabyne'


SYDNEY -- Australia's film critics picked Rolf de Heer's "Ten Canoes" as their top film of the year Friday at the annual Film Critics Circle of Australia awards ceremony in Melbourne.

"Ten Canoes" took three awards in total, one shy of the four earned by "Jindabyne." Ray Lawrence picked up the best director award for "Jindabyne," while the psychological thriller also took nods for best supporting actress (Deborra-Lee Furness) and best adapted screenplay (Beatrix Christian). "Jindabyne" lenser David Williamson shared his cinematography award with "Ten Canoes" Ian Jones.

Aside from the top film prize and shared cinematographer honor, "Ten Canoes" to the best editing prize for Tania Nehme. "Balanda and the Bark Canoes," a documentary about the making of "Ten Canoes," won the critics prize for best short documentary.

Neil Armfield's "Candy" picked up two awards: best actress for Abbie Cornish and best supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush.

Privately financed comedy "Kenny," which has taken more than AUS$6 million ($4.5 million) at the boxoffice here to date, received two awards --Shane Jacobson received the best actor award and shared the best original screenplay nod with brother Clayton Jacobson.

Best foreign-language film went to French film "Cache" (Hidden) and best English-language foreign film was awarded to George Clooney's "Good Night and Good Luck."FCCA President Russell Edwards lauded the diverse slate of Australian films represented at the awards.

"The range of genres represented in this year's field is a tribute to the belated understanding that Australian audiences (and critics) are ready to support quality films of any kind, and that there are in fact many types of Australian films, rather than a single identifiable brand or type," Edwards said.

The FCCA winners largely reflect those films that are expected to dominate the Australian awards season over the next month, with the addition of Paul Goldman's "Suburban Mayhem," which was released commercially here just last week.