Monday, December 3, 2012

AACTA Nominations: The Sapphires Sparkle!

This year's nominations for the 2nd Annual AACTA Awards (they used to be the AFI Awards for those playing along at home) have been announced just now in Sydney. It's a fairly typical lineup given the middling films in contention, but as like most years there are a few films that deserve the spotlight. Harvey Weinstein won't be releasing The Sapphires until 2013, but the Vietnam era musical has reaped a total of 12 nominations from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, including for film, director, actress, actor, screenplay and supporting actress for pop star Jessica Mauboy.

It's hard not to see this feelgood box office hip romping on stage for the big win, but I'll be championing Cate Shortland's return to feature film making, Lore. The WWII drama, Australia's submission into the very competitive foreign language film Oscar race, did very well for itself in the nominations, although the year's best music score (by Max Richter) was ignored. Funny, that. First time performer, German actress Saskia Rosendahl, also missed out in her category, although she did score in the best newcomer category. She was looked over in the best actress category for the more recognisable face of Toni Collette. Her performance in PJ Hogan's Mental was the biggest citation for that underwhelming comedy, but I do, however, champion the nominations for Liev Schreiber in supporting actor as well as the nomination for Tim Chappel's loud costumes.

Other films nominated for best film alongside Lore and The Sapphires are Burning Man and Wish You Were Here and all four best film nominees found themselves up for directing and screenwriting prizes as well as plenty of acting and technical work. Some of my personal favourite nominations of the list include Felicity Price's best lead actress nod for Wish You Were Here, the hyperdrive editing of Cindy Clarkson for X, Swerve for best sound, Sarah Snook as Australia's answer to Emma Stone in Not Suitable for Children in the lead actress category, and Gary Waddell as the bogan neighbour from hell in The King is Dead! Oh, and say what you will about the film, but I smiled at seeing Iron Sky - the nazi's on the moon sci-fi/comedy from a few months back - receive a well-deserved visual effects nomination. All of the nominations can be read over here at the AACTA website.

Best Editing nominee, X!
I'd also like to let Oliver Lyttelton know that earning an AACTA nomination for his cinematography of The Sapphires is part of what Warwick Thornton has been up to since Samson & Delilah. Lyttelton made an annoyingly unresearched barb on this piece at Indiewire. Sadly many filmmakers here cannot simply go from one film to the next (Cate Shortland's ten year's between films is testament to that!) and to say "[Thornton's] mostly been MIA since that film came out" is just a big fat lie. But, hey, if you want to write a piece about Australian directors and not, you know, research that somebody of Warwick Thornton's stature is also a celebrated artist, television director, and behind-the-scenes technician then by all means...

As for the television angle... well, I don't watch all that much, but I'm super happy that Puberty Blues was able to score a bunch of nominations. It wasn't all that popular, but the series - an adaptation of the famous book, which was already adapted into a film in the 1981 - was an exceptional piece of television that I'm so glad got made. Teenagers couldn't get much better, really. Series one is out now on DVD if you didn't give it a chance! It was, however, very disappointing to see no nominations for two of the very funniest shows this country has produced: Outland and The Bazura Project. Such a damned shame. But, hey, Agony Aunts! :/


Anonymous said...

Jessica Maulboy nomination is a joke - she can't act!

Anonymous said...

Sapphires is a wonderful film. Why won't Harvey Weinstein release it? Seems kind of strange?