Dec 182015

son of saul

9 feature films have been selected from a list of 80 to advance to the next round of voting for the foreign Language Film category for the 88th Academy Awards. While Hungarian entry Son of Saul. and France’s Mustang both advanced as expected, several critically-acclaimed titles have missed out. Surprisingly, the entire Asian region has been entirely shut out of the competition. It was expected that at least Taiwan’s The Assassin (directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien) would make the cut. While I am not a huge fan of the film, it has been highly praised. The Assassin was announced as BFI Sight & Sound magazine’s number 1 film of 2015.

South America and the Middle East are represented by one film each, Columbia’s Embrace of the Serpent, and Jordan’s Theeb respectively, with the remaining 7 films from the short-list coming from Europe. Although Europe is the most represented, there are some big films missing. The wonderfully dark Rams from Iceland was widely tipped to make the cut, as was Sweden’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence from director Roy Andersson.

As I am yet to see a single film from the list below, I am unable to have an opinion on any of them. The 5 films which will compete for the Oscar will be announced along with the other nominees on January 14.

The short-list is:

Belgium, “The Brand New Testament,” Jaco Van Dormael, director;
Colombia, “Embrace of the Serpent,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Denmark, “A War,” Tobias Lindholm, director;
Finland, “The Fencer,” Klaus Härö, director;
France, “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director;
Germany, “Labyrinth of Lies,” Giulio Ricciarelli, director;
Hungary, “Son of Saul,” László Nemes, director;
Ireland, “Viva,” Paddy Breathnach, director;
Jordan, “Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar, director.

Dec 092015


The 5th Annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (the AACTAs) took place in Sydney this evening, with Mad Max: Fury Road taking Best Film and Best Director; and The Dressmaker scooping three of the four acting awards (for Kate Winselt, Judy Davis, & Hugo Weaving), as well as the people’s choice award. The fourth acting award (Best Lead Actor) was won by Michael Caton for Last Cab to Darwin.

It is fitting that Fury Road and The Dressmaker were the big winners. The two films were the highest performing at the Australian Box Office this year and were both critically praised.

At the industry awards held last month, Fury Road took home six awards including Best Visual Effects or Animation, Best Score, and Best Production Design. The Dressmaker picked up Best Costume Design.

AACTA Award For Best Film
The Dressmaker
Holding The Man
Last Cab To Darwin
Mad Max: Fury Road WINNER
Paper Planes

AACTA Award For Best Direction
The Dressmaker – Jocelyn Moorhouse
Holding The Man – Neil Armfield
Last Cab To Darwin – Jeremy Sims
Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Lead Actor
Patrick Brammall – Ruben Guthrie
Michael Caton – Last Cab To Darwin WINNER
Ryan Corr – Holding The Man
Sullivan Stapleton – Cut Snake

AACTA Award For Best Lead Actress
Roby Butler – Now Add Honey
Ningali Lawford-Wolf – Last Cab To Darwin
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Kate Winslet – The Dressmaker WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Supporting Actor
Mark Coles Smith – Last Cab To Darwin
Alex Dimitriades – Ruben Guthrie
Anthony LaPaglia – Holding The Man
Hugo Weaving – The Dressmaker WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Supporting Actress
Judy Davis – The Dressmaker WINNER
Emma Hamilton – Last Cab To Darwin
Deborah Mailman – Paper Planes
Sarah Snook – The Dressmaker

AACTA People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film
Mad Max: Fury Road
Last Cab to Darwin
The Dressmaker WINNER
Paper Planes

A full list of all the winners, including the television, documentary, and industry awards, can be viewed at the AACTA website

Oct 292015


The Dressmaker leads Australia Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award nominations, with 12 nods including Best Film, Best Director, Lead Actress (Kate Winslet,) and Supporting Actress (Sarah Snook). The film which centers around an internationally acclaimed designer returning home to rural Australia was released in Australian cinemas today (October 29).

The critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road received 11 nominations, including a Lead Actress nomination for Charlize Theron. I love that she has been recognised as the lead, because the film is utterly hers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see her in contention for an Oscar in the same category? We can only hope.

Warm-hearted Last Cab to Darwin received 8 nominations; while Holding the Man received 6, and Cut Snake and Paper Planes both received 5.

A look at the Best Visual Effects Or Animation category shows how many major Hollywood productions are looking to Australia for our innovation in special/visual effects. Pan, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ted 2, and Mad Max: Fury Road have all received nomination in this category.

This year has been a record-breaking year at the box office for Australian films, with the all-time box office record of $63.4 million (set in 2001) passed at the beginning of the month. The Australian film share of the local box office is currently (as of Oct 7) sitting at 6.8%, which is the best since 2001.

The AACTA craft awards will be presented at a dinner in Sydney on November 30, with the main awards presented at an awards ceremony at The Star Event Centre on December 9.

Check out the nominations after the jump.

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