AustLit logo
Australian Film Institute Awards
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

History

Begun in 1958 these awards were the highest accolade in film and television. Following the launch of Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts by the Australian Film Institute in August 2011 these awards became the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, or AACTAs.

Winners (also see subcategories)v1304

2010 winner Best Television Drama Series form y separately published work icon Rush Southern Star John Edwards (publisher), Christopher Lee , Todd Boland , Adam Todd , Alice Bell , Samantha Winston , Justin Monjo , Leon Ford , Jessica Redenbach , Andrew Prowse , Sam Carroll , John Ridley , Jeff Truman , Keith Thompson , Louise Fox , Tony McNamara , Kris Mrksa , Michelle Offen , John O'Brien , Tim Alexander , Shelley Birse , Kylie Needham , Steve Rodgers , Rene Zandweld , Meaghan Rodriguez , Todd Winston , David Caesar , Jonathan Gavin , Tim Dylan Lee , Vanessa Bates , Michael Boland , Ben Chessell , Raquel Stevens , ( dir. Andrew Prowse et. al. )agent 2008 Australia : Southern Star John Edwards Network Ten , 2008-2011 Z1622238 2008 series - publisher film/TV crime

'... a contemporary action drama series set in a critical incident police unit, providing an insider's view of police under pressure. Our heroes are a mobile squad trained to be smarter, tactically superior and technologically advantaged.'

Source: Australian Television website, www.australiantelevision.net (sighted 08/09/2009)

2006 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Candy Luke Davies , Neil Armfield , ( dir. Neil Armfield ) Australia : Renaissance Films , 2006 6618158 2006 single work film/TV

'Based on the critically acclaimed bestseller, CANDY is the powerful story of two lovers whose intersecting lives take them on a journey of lust, addiction and self-destruction.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2005 Longford Life Achievement Award Ray Barrett
2004 winner Best Screenplay in a Short Film form y separately published work icon Queen of Hearts Danielle Maclean , ( dir. Danielle Maclean ) Seymour Films , 2003 Z1172115 2003 single work film/TV
2004 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Somersault More Than Scarlet Cate Shortland , ( dir. Cate Shortland ) Australia : Red Carpet Productions , 2004 Z1153215 2004 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'A visually haunting story of an adolescent girl's discovery of the difference between sex and love in the winter landscape of an Australian ski resort town.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2004 Life Achievement Pat Lovell
2004 Byron Kennedy Award John Clarke
2004 winner Best Screenplay (Television) form y separately published work icon Marking Time John Doyle , ( dir. Cherie Nowlan ) Southern Star John Edwards , 2003 Z1077214 2003 series - publisher film/TV

'MARKING TIME tells the story of Hal, a small town boy who has just left high school. The world is at his feet. He falls in love with Randa, an Afghani refugee, in a year of momentous change - from the optimistic time of the Sydney Olympics up until the post-September 11 world of a scared and divided nation.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2004 winner Best Telefeature or Mini-Series form y separately published work icon Marking Time John Doyle , ( dir. Cherie Nowlan ) Southern Star John Edwards , 2003 Z1077214 2003 series - publisher film/TV

'MARKING TIME tells the story of Hal, a small town boy who has just left high school. The world is at his feet. He falls in love with Randa, an Afghani refugee, in a year of momentous change - from the optimistic time of the Sydney Olympics up until the post-September 11 world of a scared and divided nation.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2004 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon Somersault More Than Scarlet Cate Shortland , ( dir. Cate Shortland ) Australia : Red Carpet Productions , 2004 Z1153215 2004 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'A visually haunting story of an adolescent girl's discovery of the difference between sex and love in the winter landscape of an Australian ski resort town.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2004 winner Best Australian Drama Series Roger Simpson For Stingers.
2003 winner Global Achievement Award Geoffrey Rush
2003 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

Award sponsored by Parker Pens.
2003 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

2003 winner Screenwriting Prize form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

Award sponsored by Harper's Bazaar
2002 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon Beneath Clouds Ivan Sen , ( dir. Ivan Sen ) Sydney : Autumn Films , 2001 Z1440560 2001 single work film/TV (taught in 12 units) Blue eyed, fair skinned Lena is the daughter of an Aboriginal mother, living in a small country town. She longs for the romantic ideal of her absent father and his Irish heritage. When her home life feels set to implode, she hits the road with little money, a backpack and a photo of her dad. When Lena misses her bus to Sydney, she meets up with Vaughn, an Aboriginal teenager who has run away from a minimum-security prison in the desperate hope of reaching his ill mother. Vaughn is hardened by his anger at the world. Initially the two reluctant travelling companions are suspicious and wary of each other, but their journey, mostly by foot and the odd lift, builds an understanding between them. -- Libraries Australia
2001 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Lantana Andrew Bovell , ( dir. Ray Lawrence ) Sydney : Jan Chapman Productions , 2001 Z900877 2001 single work film/TV thriller (taught in 6 units)

'A woman disappears. Four marriages are drawn into a tangled web of love, deceit, sex and death. Not all of them survive. LANTANA is a psychological thriller about love. It's about the mistakes we make, the consequences we suffer, and the attempts we make to fix things up.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 4/12/2013)

2001 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Lantana Andrew Bovell , ( dir. Ray Lawrence ) Sydney : Jan Chapman Productions , 2001 Z900877 2001 single work film/TV thriller (taught in 6 units)

'A woman disappears. Four marriages are drawn into a tangled web of love, deceit, sex and death. Not all of them survive. LANTANA is a psychological thriller about love. It's about the mistakes we make, the consequences we suffer, and the attempts we make to fix things up.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 4/12/2013)

2001 winner Best Episode in a Television Drama Series (long) (to producer) Roger Simpson For 'That One Defining Moment', an episode of Something in the Air.
1998 winner Best Television Screenplay form y separately published work icon Wildside : Episode 17 Tim Pye , ( dir. Peter Andrikidis ) 1998 Z1362948 1998 single work film/TV crime
— Appears in: Top Shelf 2 : Five Outstanding Television Screenplays 2001; (p. 236-309)

'As Bill and Charlie investigate the horrific murder of a taxi driver, Maxine discovers the involvement of three street kids--Greg, Mitch, and Mandy--after overhearing their conversation at the Crisis Centre. She makes the decision to call Bill about the three suspects against Vince's advice to give them the chance to come forward of their own accord.'

Source: Australian Television Information Archive.

1998 winner Best Episode in a Television Drama Series form y separately published work icon Wildside : Episode 17 Tim Pye , ( dir. Peter Andrikidis ) 1998 Z1362948 1998 single work film/TV crime
— Appears in: Top Shelf 2 : Five Outstanding Television Screenplays 2001; (p. 236-309)

'As Bill and Charlie investigate the horrific murder of a taxi driver, Maxine discovers the involvement of three street kids--Greg, Mitch, and Mandy--after overhearing their conversation at the Crisis Centre. She makes the decision to call Bill about the three suspects against Vince's advice to give them the chance to come forward of their own accord.'

Source: Australian Television Information Archive.

1998 winner Best Adapted Screenplay form y separately published work icon The Boys Stephen Sewell , ( dir. Rowan Woods ) Surry Hills : Arenafilm , 1998 Z917499 1998 single work film/TV (taught in 1 units)

Inspired in part by Sydney nurse Anita Cobby, who was gang raped, tortured and murdered by five men who kidnapped her as she waited for a bus to take her home late one night, The Boys takes the viewer into the world of a violent and dysfunctional family controlled by the intelligent, malevolent, violent, and manipulative eldest son.

After being released from a twelve-month prison sentence, Brett Sprague returns to his mother's suburban Sydney home and the tension within the family rises almost immediately. His mother tries to keep the peace, only to see her three sons turn on her new boyfriend. The narrative climaxes when after eighteen hours of drinking and fighting, the boys go out and cruise the streets, looking for trouble. It is then that they see a girl waiting for a bus on her own.

[Source: Australian Screen]
1997 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon The Castle Rob Sitch , Santo Cilauro , Tom Gleisner , Jane Kennedy , ( dir. Rob Sitch ) Australia : Working Dog Productions , 1997 Z1542696 1997 single work film/TV humour (taught in 4 units)

The Kerrigan family's home is situated right beside one of Melbourne's airports, but they don't mind. In fact, they love living there. When the government and airport authorities announce that they are buying up all the properties in the neighbourhood in order to make way for airport extensions, Darryl decides to defend his right to live in his beloved home. The Castle is the story of how they take on the authorities, all the way to the High Court.

1997 winner Best Television Mini Series or Telefeature (to producer) Roger Simpson For Good Guys Bad Guys.
1996 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon Shine Jan Sardi , ( dir. Scott Hicks ) 1996 Australia : Momentum Films , 1996 Z128198 1996 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)

Shine is the true story of David Helfgott, a brilliant pianist whose musical gift is nearly compromised by the emotional strain of his personal life. A child prodigy whose interpretive genius promised a brilliant career as a concert pianist, David grew up under the tyrannical parenting of his father. Their turbulent relationship almost destroys David's promise and threatens his fragile mental balance. When an unlikely romance with a remarkable woman brings stability to David's chaotic world, he returns to concert performance in triumph. Freed from the difficult legacy of his father's influence, his musical talent prevails.

(Source: Libraries Australia)

1995 winner Best Screenplay form y separately published work icon Hotel Sorrento Sorrento Beach Richard Franklin , Peter Fitzpatrick , ( dir. Richard Franklin ) 1995 Australia : Bayside Pictures , 1995 Z221647 1995 single work film/TV

Three sisters (Meg, Pippa, and Hillary) reunite at the family home in the Australian seaside town of Sorrento, Victoria, after their father disappears. Meg, who has lived in England for ten years, has just written a critically acclaimed novel. The book causes a stir in Sorrento and in her family when people begin to suspect that it is not, as she claims, entirely fictional.

1995 winner Best Television Mini Series or Telefeature (to producer) Roger Simpson For 'The Feeding', an episode of Halifax, f.p.
1994 Tony Ayres for 'The Long Ride'
1993 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Blackfellas Day of the Dog James Ricketson , Cottesloe : Barron Entertainment , 1991 11650254 1991 single work film/TV Nineteen years old and on parole, all Doug Dooligan wants to do is get on with his life away from the influence of his best friend Floyd 'Pretty Boy' Davis. Floyd, a charming conman and petty thief, has other ideas. He thinks Doug's decision to go straight is a rejection of his Nyoongah lifestyle in favour of white fella values. Edith, Doug's white mother, reminds Doug that she is his people too. He is faced with the daunting tasks of reconciling the opposing expectations of two cultures, family and friends.
1993 winner Best Screenplay form y separately published work icon The Piano Jane Campion , ( dir. Jane Campion ) Australia : Jan Chapman Productions , 1993 Z352127 1993 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)

'Ada, her nine-year-old daughter, and her piano, arrive to an arranged marriage in the remote bush of 19th century New Zealand. Of all her belongings, her husband refuses to transport the piano and it is left behind on the beach. Unable to bear its certain destruction, Ada strikes a bargain with an illiterate neighbour. She may earn her piano back if she allows him to do certain things while she plays: one black key for every lesson. The arrangement draws all three deeper and deeper into a complex emotional, sexual bond, remarkable for its naive passion and frightening disregard for limits.'

Source: Screen Australia.

1991 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Proof Jocelyn Moorhouse , ( dir. Jocelyn Moorhouse ) Melbourne : House and Moorhouse Films , 1991 Z183986 1991 single work film/TV

Blind since birth, Martin has never trusted anyone. He takes photographs as proof that the world he imagines is the same as that seen by sighted people. He relies on his young housekeeper, who is in love with him. But when he makes a new friend, the housekeeper's jealousy turns to vindictive rage.

1991 winner Best Screenplay in a Short Film form y separately published work icon Plead Guilty, Get A Bond Ben Lewin , ( dir. Peter Maguire ) Australia : Lewin Films , 1990 Z1462466 1990 single work film/TV

A comedy of errors, Plead Guilty, Get a Bond explores the issue of how inaccessible a non-Aboriginal judicial system can be when applied to Aboriginal culture. Amy Winthrop is a young Aboriginal woman who has been charged with wounding her husband Freddie during a domestic argument. Everyone appears to expect her to simply plead guilty and receive a good behaviour bond. Her newly appointed and inexperienced Legal Aid Lawyer, Colin McKenzie, is outraged by this expectation, however, and persuades Amy to plead her innocence.

1990 winner Best Screenplay form y separately published work icon Come in Spinner Nick Enright , Lissa Benyon , ( dir. Robert Marchand ) 1990 Australia : ABC Television , 1990 Z486292 1990 series - publisher film/TV

'Sydney in 1944, the tide is turning in the Pacific War and American forces have made Sydney a gaudy, hectic garrison town. The gamblers and "good time charlies" converge on the South Pacific Hotel, one of Sydney's finest.

The heart of the hotel is the bustling beauty salon run by the cool professional Claire (Lisa Harrow), who hides a guilty secret; Deb (Kerry Armstrong,) who has a pre-war marriage and a wartime alternative; and Guinea (Rebecca Gibney), whose 'good war' is not what it seems.

Come in Spinner is the story of one week in their lives, as they play the game of chance for the highest stakes...survival, security and the opportunity for happiness and love.'

Source: ABC Commercial website http://www.abc.net.au/abccontentsales/s1475926.htm (Sighted 27/03/12)

1989 winner Best Mini-series Screenplay form y separately published work icon Bodysurfer Christopher Lee , Suzanne Hawley , Denis Whitburn , ( dir. Ian Barry ) Sydney Australia : John Sexton Productions ABC Television , 1989 Z822410 1989 series - publisher film/TV

A television mini-series based on the award-winning collection of short stories by Robert Drewe, Bodysurfer combines a number of characters and incidents to create a single narrative focusing on the troubled personal life of Sydney architect David Lang. The narrative takes place over a period of some eighteen months, beginning shortly after the failure of Lang's marriage. He begins a series of casual affairs, but memories of his past come flooding back to stir his feelings of guilt and he has a breakdown.

1987 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Travelling North David Williamson , ( dir. Carl Schultz ) Sydney : View Films , 1986 Z948649 1986 single work film/TV

Travelling North is the story of a man's struggle to retain his dignity in the face of adversity and of his relationships with those around him. The narrative, with its King Lear overtones, revolves around Frank, a crotchety old man who nevertheless has an unending zest and passion for life, and his companion Frances. As events unfold, she watches helplessly as Frank attempts to come to terms with the complexity of his personality and his strong desire to live his remaining days to the fullest.

1986 winner Best Telefeature form y separately published work icon The Perfectionist David Williamson , ( dir. Chris Thomson ) Sydney : Pavilion Partners , 1985 Z966852 1985 single work film/TV

An incisive and humorous look at the problems in a two-career marriage, the story concerns Stuart, a perfectionist and male chauvinist, and his wife Barbara. When she re-enters the workforce and hires a male Scandinavian babysitter, the effects on the household are dramatic.

1985 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Bliss Peter Carey , Ray Lawrence , ( dir. Ray Lawrence ) Australia : Window III Productions , 1985 Z1360296 1985 single work film/TV (taught in 1 units)

When Harry, an executive, suffers a heart attack, he experiences a brief moment of brain death, only to awaken with a far darker vision of the seemingly idyllic world that he's left behind. In quick succession, he learns that his wife is cheating on him, his son has become a drug dealer, and his daughter is a junkie. Even his perfect career has become a nightmare, as he discovers that his latest client is, in fact, a heartless, deadly polluter. Enraged, Harry is determined to live a morally righteous life, a notion that proves anathema to everyone around him.

1984 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Annie's Coming Out A Test of Love (US title) John Patterson , Chris Borthwick , 1982 (Manuscript version)11650227 11650220 1982 single work film/TV 'Jessica Hathaway works in a hospital for disabled children. Among the children in her charge is Annie, who has had cerebral palsy since birth. Jessica discovers Annie's considerable intelligence and endeavours to demonstrate it to everyone.'
Source: National Film and Sound Archive
1984 winner Best Short Fiction Film form y separately published work icon Getting Wet P. J. Hogan , ( dir. P. J. Hogan ) Darlinghurst : AFI Distribution Australian Film Television and Radio School , 1984 Z1889084 1984 single work film/TV

'This award-winning drama revolves around the awakening sexual interests of fifteen year old Alex, who goes with his family on their annual seaside summer holiday. Accompanying them this summer is Brenda, an attractive young woman. Alex has naive designs on Brenda, but has to compete with his older brother Michael...'

Source: Cover of VHS release.

1983 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon Careful, He Might Hear You Michael Jenkins , ( dir. Carl Schultz ) Sydney : Syme International Productions , 1983 Z1359519 1983 single work film/TV

Set in the Depression, the story follows the bitter struggle between two sisters over the custody of their orphaned nephew. Each determined to have the boy, both women resort to deceitful manipulation and cruel lies.

1982 winner Raymond Longford Award Eric Porter
1981 winner Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted form y separately published work icon Gallipoli David Williamson , ( dir. Peter Weir ) Sydney : Associated R & R Films , 1981 Z948654 1981 single work film/TV (taught in 11 units)

The narrative begins in Western Australia in 1915 and follows the paths of Archie Hamilton and Frank Dunne, before and after their enlistment in the Australian Imperial Forces. Hamilton is the patriotic son of a grazier and Frank Dunne is a drifter with no great desire to fight for the British Empire. They meet as runners in an outback footrace and become best mates. After training in Egypt, they land at Gallipoli, just as the great Allied assaults of August 1915 are to begin.

Source: Australian Screen.

1980 winner Best Original Screenplay form y separately published work icon Breaker Morant Jonathan Hardy , David Stevens , Kenneth Ross , ( dir. Bruce Beresford ) 1980 Adelaide : South Australian Film Corporation , 1980 Z840559 1980 single work film/TV

Adapted from the play of the same title by Kenneth Ross, Breaker Morant is based on the 1901 Boer War court martial of three colonial officers in the Bushveldt Carabineers, who are sacrificed to the dictates of imperial expediency. The interweaving of courtroom drama with the re-creation of the events leading to the court martial (the supposed murder of twelve prisoners and a German missionary) is given a degree of moral complexity, but the balance of sympathies is manipulated to favour the three Australian 'irregular' soldiers. The accused (Lieutenants Harry 'Breaker' Morant, Peter Handcock, and George Witton) are defended by Major Thomas, an inexperienced Australian lawyer who struggles to have his case heard.

1979 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon My Brilliant Career Eleanor Witcombe , ( dir. Gillian Armstrong ) Adelaide : Margaret Fink Productions , 1979 Z817179 1979 single work film/TV (taught in 7 units)

Based on the book by Miles Franklin, this feature film tells the story of an Australian country girl who, at the end of the nineteenth century, wants to make her own way in the outside world.

Rejecting an offer of marriage from a wealthy suitor (who is also her childhood friend), she instead finds herself obligated to work off her father's debt to a neighbouring family, for whom she works as governess and housekeeper. Returning home, she again rejects her suitor's proposal, this time in favour of writing a novel based on her experiences.

1978 winner Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source form y separately published work icon The Getting Of Wisdom Eleanor Witcombe , ( dir. Bruce Beresford ) Australia : Southern Cross Films , 1978 Z1446682 1978 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

In the early 1900s, the spirited and talented Laura Tweedle Ramsbotham arrives at an exclusive Melbourne ladies' college, only to be greeted with jeers and treated as a country bumpkin. Although she is defiant towards her peers, the pressure almost defeats her. She soon learns, however, to be as ruthless as the other girls. Caught out after inventing an illicit liaison with the handsome new minister, she becomes a pariah until she is taken under the wing of an older girl, the elegant and kindly Evelyn Suitor. Laura subsequently falls in love with Evelyn, causing the latter to leave the school in order to escape Laura's attentions. Laura eventually completes her schooling, winning a two-year music scholarship to study piano.

Source: Australian Screen.

1977 winner Best Film form y separately published work icon Storm Boy Sonia Borg , ( dir. Henri Safran ) Adelaide : South Australian Film Corporation , 1976 Z1057204 1976 single work film/TV

'A young boy befriends an Aboriginal man and a pelican. One day he is forced to choose between his beloved companions and the often cruel outside world.'

Source: Screen Australia.

1976 winner Best Screenplay - Original or Adapted form y separately published work icon The Devil's Playground Fred Schepisi , ( dir. Fred Schepisi ) Australia : The Film House , 1976 Z1668977 1976 single work film/TV

Set in a Catholic seminary outside Melbourne in 1953, an era in which aspiring priests would begin training in their early teens for their eventual vocation, The Devil's Playground is a study not only of life in a religious school but also of its effects on the students' lives, morals, and mental states. The protagonist, thirteen-year-old Tom Allen, is constantly getting in trouble for his behaviour, which includes wetting his bed, showering in the nude, and always being late. Although he spends many hours in the chapel praying for guidance, his impure thoughts terrify him. The priests and brothers who teach him also struggle with their own desires, while at the same time arguing for greater discipline. Indeed, most of the order - postulates and priests alike - have doubts about their vocation. Through the loneliness, fear, and shame, Tom begins to ponder his future.


[Source: Australian Screen]

1973 winner Silver Award (Fiction) form y separately published work icon Moving On Anne Brooksbank , Cliff Green , ( dir. Richard Mason ) Australia : Film Australia , 1974 Z1888721 1974 single work film/TV

A farmer is forced off his land under the weight of debt and the diffculties of farming.

In its overview of awards from 1973, the Australian Film Institute notes that 'Moving On has other historical interest. It was the first major writing credit for Anne Brooksbank and the last film directed by Richard Mason.'

Source: Australian Film Awards (http://aacta.org/winners-nominees/1970-1979/1973.aspx). Sighted: 19/9/2012).

X