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AACTA Award Winners Announced in Sydney as Australia's Top Film and TV Stars Shine on Seven

Wednesday 9 December 2015: Australia’s top film and television talent came together tonight to honour Australia’s best screen achievements of 2015 at the 5th AACTA Awards Ceremony presented by Presto, held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney.

Broadcast on Channel Seven at 8:30pm tonight, show presenters include Patrick Brammall, Mel Gibson, Radha Mitchell, Daniel MacPherson, Erik Thomson, Stephen Peacocke, and Megan Gale, along with HOME AND AWAY’s Georgie Parker and Bonnie Sveen, to name just a few.

The red carpet sizzled, with guests and nominees attending including Dr George Miller, Anthony LaPaglia, Hugo Weaving, Rachael Griffiths, Ryan Corr, Margaret Pomeranz, Marta Dusseldorp, Alexandra Schepisi, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Samantha Harris and Bindi Irwin, along with a number of HOME AND AWAY cast members.

Among the show highlights was the presentation of Australia’s highest screen accolade, the AACTA Longford Lyell Award, to performer Cate Blanchett, who received tributes from some of the world’s biggest names in film, including Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Robert Redford, Ridley Scott and Ron Howard.

The show’s musical acts were outstanding, with Justice Crew featuring in the show opener, and performances by Birds of Tokyo, Rudimental and this year’s winner of THE X FACTOR, Cyrus.

Tune in to see all the glamour of the red carpet, and to watch Australia’s top performers, practitioners and productions honoured at 8:30pm tonight on Channel Seven. An encore screening will follow on Foxtel Movies Masterpiece channel on Friday 11 December at 10.15pm.

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In a record-breaking year for Australian films at the local box office, taking more than $85 million to date, anticipation was great regarding which films would take Australia’s top screen accolades at the 5th AACTA Awards Ceremony presented by Presto in Sydney.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD tonight continued its impressive run in the 5th AACTA Awards season. Following six wins at last week’s Industry Dinner, tonight it received two Awards: the AACTA Award for Best Direction presented by Hyundai Genesis went to George Miller; and the AACTA Award for Best Film presented by Presto was awarded to Miller along with Doug Mitchell and PJ Voeten.

Following its win for Best Costume Design at the Industry Dinner, comedic revenge drama THE DRESSMAKER scooped three Awards for performance tonight, as well as the AACTA People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film, totalling five wins for the 5th AACTA Awards season.

Kate Winslet was awarded the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress for her performance as Tilly Dunnage in THE DRESSMAKER, Hugo Weaving received the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and Judy Davis received the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Michael Caton received the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor for his moving performance in LAST TO CAB DARWIN, marking a first-time AFI or AACTA Award win for the seasoned performer, whose last AFI Award nomination was for his performance as Darryl Kerrigan in THE CASTLE, which cemented Caton as one of Australia’s most popular and much-loved performers.

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Following its outstanding success with audiences, attracting more than one million viewers across two nights in September, the Seven Network’s PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR has also confirmed its success on the screen craft front. It received all five of the Awards for which it was competing tonight, making PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR the most awarded television production of the 5th AACTA Awards season, bringing its total number of Awards to seven, following two Awards at last week’s Industry Dinner.

Tonight PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR took home the AACTA Award for Best Telefeature or Mini Series for Kerrie Mainwaring and Rory Callaghan, whilst Michael Miller received the AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television for his work on Episode 2.

Despite a year of tight competition in the television performance categories - with THE SECRET RIVER (ABC), REDFERN NOW – PROMISE ME (also ABC) and PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR (Seven Network) having each received three performance nominations - PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR was the clear winner.

With three past AFI nominations in a stellar career spanning three decades, Sigrid Thornton tonight received the AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for her outstanding performance as Judy Garland in PETER ALLEN – NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR Episode 1.

Marking a young performer to watch, 14-year-old Ky Baldwin tonight received his first AACTA Award, receiving Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama for his performance as the young Peter Allen in Episode 1.

Joel Jackson’s captivating performance as Peter Allen earned him the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama, firmly cementing Jackson as an Australian actor on the rise, following two AACTA Award nominations this year from just three on-screen acting credits at this, the beginning of his career.

The AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama went to Pamela Rabe for her chilling performance as Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson on WENTWORTH SERIES 3 (FOXTEL - SoHo).

The ABC’s debut supernatural drama, GLITCH, received the AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series for multi-AFI and AACTA Award winner, Tony Ayres, along with first-time winners, Louise Fox and Ewan Burnett.

From its third consecutive nomination, SHAUN MICALLEF’S MAD AS HELL (ABC) earned its first AACTA Award for Best Television Comedy Series tonight, awarded to Shaun Micallef (who was previously awarded for Best Performance in a Television Comedy for his role in this production) and executive producer Peter Beck.

The AACTA Award for Best Reality Television Series was hotly contested this year. Tonight Network Ten’s MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA took home the Award for the second time in four years, staving off strong competition from the Nine Network’s THE VOICE AUSTRALIA (4th AACTA Award winner), Network Seven’s MY KITCHEN RULES 6 and THE X FACTOR (both past nominees), and first-time nominee in this category REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MELBOURNE SEASON 2 (FOXTEL - Arena). The Award went to MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA’s Margaret Bashfield, Marty Benson, Tim Toni and Rob Wallace.

Following its recently announced partnership with the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), which will see AACTA extend its subscription television Awards as of next year, AACTA tonight announced the winner of its special one-off AACTA Subscription Television 20th Anniversary Award for Best Drama, as judged by a select group of television writers and critics. Perennial favourite LOVE MY WAY took the Award over other past AFI and AACTA Award winners and nominees, DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, TOP OF THE LAKE.

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AACTA Longford Lyell Award

A highlight of the show was the presentation of Australia’s highest screen accolade, the AACTA Longford Lyell Award, this year presented to five-time AFI or AACTA Award winner, Cate Blanchett.

Among Blanchett’s many screen awards, which total more than 130 accolades from around the world, her Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning work includes performances in BLUE JASMINE and THE AVIATOR.

Tonight’s Ceremony saw Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving, both of whom have performed with Blanchett on screen and stage, present Blanchett with her Award, with a touching tribute from Gillian Armstrong, who directed Blanchett at the beginning of her career in OSCAR AND LUCINDA.

Attesting to Blanchett’s brilliance as one of the world’s leading and most in-demand performers, filmed tributes were received from screen luminaries including Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Robert Redford, Bruce Beresford, Ron Howard, Todd Haynes, Sam Rami and Ridley Scott.

Byron Kennedy Award

Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw was tonight announced as the recipient of the Byron Kennedy Award, which includes a $10,000 prize, for outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television industries.

The Byron Kennedy Award is determined by a jury annually and is given to an individual or organisation whose work embodies innovation and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

Arkapaw has received acclaim and accolades across short films, commercials, television, and feature films. His body of work includes hard-hitting local feature films ANIMAL KINGDOM, SNOWTOWN and LORE, as well as the haunting television mystery series TOP OF THE LAKE and TRUE DETECTIVE, which earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography.

Most recently, Arkapaw re-teamed with SNOWTOWN director Justin Kurzel to shoot MACBETH, and the pair is currently working together on the feature film adaptation of the video game ASSASSIN’S CREED.

The Byron Kennedy Award jury said: "We have chosen Adam Arkapaw for his pursuit of excellence in cinematography. His work, already acknowledged as virtuosic and innovative, is always in the service of the story.”

The AACTA Awards are proudly supported by the New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

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