The AACTA Red Carpet is all about black tie and ballroom gown glamour. There are few antics but there often is at least one. This came in the form of octogenarian priest and radio personality Father Bob Maguire who had flown up from Melbourne to walk the Red Carpet both at the Aria and AAACTA awards. By lifting a bit of his trouser leg he mimicked some of the gowns that had splits right up to the thigh.

Just as ‘Lambs of God’, the dark tale of cruelty to Tasmania’s indigenous people, dominated the AACTA luncheon awards, ‘The Nightingale’ swept the ‘front of camera’ awards. In a first in the history of AACTA a woman filmmaker Jennifer Kent won awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay for ‘The Nightingale’. The Nightingale’ also won  best actress  for Aisling Franciosi and Magmolia Maymuru who received her best supporting actress award at the ACCTA’s luncheon,

Despite achieving great success in Hollywood Damon Herriman returns frequently to appear in Australian films. As well as appearing in “The Nightingale’ he also starred in the critically acclaimed ‘Judy and Punch’ for which he won the Best Actor award. He paid tribute to director Mirrah Foulkes for inviting him to play this great role.

Beloved actress Deborah  Mailman entered the Media Room .shedding a tear for her award as Best Actress in a tv drama for ‘Total Control’

Winning two awards for best performance in a comedy and best comedy was Alison Bell for ‘The Letdown’.

Other major awards went to Rachel Griffiths as Best Supporting Actress in a tv drama  for ‘Total Control’, which also won an award for Best TV Drama Series, Richard Roxburgh won Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama ‘The Hunting’, whilst ‘Lambs of God’ won Best Tele Feature or Mini Series.

There was a battle as to which Adam Goodes documentary would win but the  the best documentary gong went to ‘The Australian Dream’.helmed by Daniel Gordon and written by Stan Grant.

The Longford Lyell award, which is an award made to an actor who has both a distinguished body of work as well as making a major contribution to the Australian film industry. Although he was born in Northern Island as Nigel and despite the fact that he is a resident of New Zealand the recipient was Sam Neill.  introduced by Dr George Miller. who outlined his marvellous career and with video tributes flooding the stage, Sam Neill thanked his friend  and ‘failed Doctor’ for his comments.

Neill also thanked director Gillian Armstrong for his breakthrough role in ‘My Brilliant Career’. He spoke at length of his love of making films in Australia an d the majority of his work has been located here. He also mentioned that this was the third Lifetime Achievement Award he had received in the past few months which make it sound as if he had died! He replied enthusiastically that he was not terminal and indeed had a future project to undertake.

The Awards night hosted be Shane Jacobsen  claimed a record, according to Jacobsen, as the shortest awards ceremony in AACTA’s history due to the brevity of the acceptance speeches.

Featured image: Michelle and Steve Payne. All images by Ben Apfelbaum