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Wednesday
Dec042013

'Great Gatsby' and 'The Rocket' Lead the "Australian Oscars"

Glenn, Team Film Experience's resident Australian, here. In all the hubbub surrounding the big wins for American Hustle and Her, it went unnoticed (not surprisingly, but also not without reason) that the nominees for this year's AACTA Awards were announced. Australia's own "Academy" (renamed from the Australian Film Institute several years back) went big for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which is hoping for a tech resurgence later in the guild-stretch of the Oscar season, and Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket, which is still holding on hope for an Academy foreign language short-listing. Other famous names like Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Mia Wasikowska, and Naomi Watts also appear across the 14 categories recognising Australian films.

Catherine Martin and her team of production/set/costume designers are - let's face it - the only likely Oscar cross-over here for their work on The Great Gatsby so it's hard to picture her losing. That would give Martin a total of seven awards from her home country. One for every single nomination she's received. You don't get much better than a 100% win ratio, do you? Are we thinking she'll be adding two more Academy Awards to her weighed-down shelf of achievements? At this stage I actually think it's entirely possible. 

The full list of nominees are...

Best Film

  • Dead Europe
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Mystery Road
  • The Rocket
  • Satellite Boy
  • The Turning

Despite reaping the largest number of nominations (14), The Great Gatsby would feel like a strange winner given the rumblings about whether it even deserves to be called an Australian film. Despite the acclaim for noir-western Mystery Road and indigenous walkabout drama Satellite Boy, I think it will be between the tiny south-Asian charms of The Rocket and the mammoth undertaking of 3-hour omnibus ensemble The Turning for the win. The latter has the bigger local profile (including Cate Blanchett's other 2013 performance) and even those who weren't fans tended to give it an "A for Effort". As for Dead Europe, however, for all its faults (of which it has many) it's certainly rare to see multi-lingual, bleak, queer ghost stories up for major awards so there's that.

Best Direction

  • Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby
  • Ivan Sen, Mystery Road
  • Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket
  • Directing Ensemble, The Turning

This is Luhrmann's third directing nomination with the organisation after Strictly Ballroom (for which he won) and Moulin Rouge!, but again his film will be relegated to the acting and technical categories in favour of Mordaunt's affecting work in the Laos-set Oscar contender or the 18 (!!!) directors of The Turning. Names of which include Mia Wasikowska, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders), David Wenham, and Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah). Could any awards body refuse handing out statues to names like that or will they honour Mordaunt's rather daunting (wordplay!) task of filming in bomb-scattered Laos to international acclaim?

Best Lead Actor

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby 
  • Sitthiphon Disamoe, The Rocket
  • Ewen Leslie, Dead Europe
  • Hugo Weaving, The Turning

I've joked that it would be hilarious if DiCaprio found himself nominated for best actor at the Oscars for his other performance - just like 2006: Gatsby rather than Wolf of Wall Street. Can you even imagine?

Best Lead Actress 

  • Rose Byrne, The Turning 
  • Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby
  • Tasma Walton, Mystery Road
  • Naomi Watts, Adore

Well, she started the year with an Oscar nomination (for The Impossible) and ends with an "Australian Oscar" nomination for Adore (which is called Adoration in Australia). Given what a shocking year she had otherwise, that's a pretty decent effort. Never mind though because everything I have heard about Byrne's supposedly career best work in The Turning (despite being in only one of the 18 shorts) suggests she'll finally get a trophy to sit on her mantelpiece alongside her Volpi Cup from Venice. 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Marton Csokas, Dead Europe
  • Joel Edgerton, The Great Gatsby
  • Thep Phongam, The Rocket 
  • Angus Sampson, 100 Bloody Acres

Phongam was a treat as a James Brown-loving travel guide, but Edgerton is a popular name in a clearly popular movie.

Best Supporting Actress 

  • Elizabeth Debecki, The Great Gatsby
  • Isla Fisher, The Great Gatsby
  • Mirrah Foulkes, The Turning
  • Alice Keohavong, The Rocket

The thin list of eligible films means Isla Fisher gets nominated for doing nothing but going back home for a few weeks to make a movie. Elizabeth Debecki will likely win her only award of the season here, but she probably deserves more (DOES SHE?)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Colin & Cameron Cairnes, 100 Bloody Acres
  • Morgan O'Neill & Tim Duff, Drift
  • Ivan Sen, Mystery Road
  • Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Christopher Hampton, Adore
  • Louise Fox, Dead Europe
  • Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pierce, The Great Gatsby
  • Writing Ensemble, The Turning

Yes, the film with the dialogue "He thinks we're lezzos?!?" got a screenwriting nomination. I love this world.

Best Documentary

  • I Am a Girl
  • Once My Mother
  • Red Obsession
  • Shadow of a Doubt 

Best Cinematography

  • Geoffrey Hall, Rick Rifici & Rick Jakovich, Drift
  • Damian E. Wyvill, Goddess
  • Simon Duggan, The Great Gatsby
  • Andrew Commis, The Rocket

Best Editing

  • Matt Villa, Jason Ballantine & Jonathan Redmond, The Great Gatsby
  • Ivan Sen, Mystery Road
  • Nick Meyers, The Rocket
  • Editing Ensemble, The Turning

Best Sound

  • The Great Gatsby
  • Mystery Road
  • The Rocket
  • Satellite Boy

Best Original Music Score

  • Jed Kurzel, Dead Europe
  • Michael Yezersky, Drift
  • Craig Armstrong, The Great Gatsby
  • Caitlin Yao, The Rocket 

Best Production Design 

  • Annie Beauchamp, Adore
  • Annie Beauchamp, Goddess
  • Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Ian Gracie & Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby
  • Pete Baxter, The Rocket

 Best Costume Design

  • Joanna Mae Park, Adore
  • Shareen Beringer, Goddess
  • Catherine Martin, Silvana Azzi Heras & Kerry Thompson, The Great Gatsby
  • Woranun Pueakpan & Sylvia Wilczynski, The Rocket

Sadly not too many of these films have made their way to international shores - Gatsby, The Rocket, 100 Bloody Acres and Adore being, I think, the only ones - but I'd love to hear from anybody who's seen them or others. 2013 wasn't the best year for Australian film so I'm going to assume there aren't too many of you that have. 

And just because we're running on a theme here, the trailer for John Curran's Tracks was unleashed earlier this week and I for one am very excited for it. Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver star and The Weinstein Company will be releasing it in America sometime next year. 

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Reader Comments (8)

Haven't seen it (dying to) but Rose Byrne's part in the book The Turning is crazy good, and it seems like something she would knock out of the park.

December 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

Of all the films eligible, GREAT GATSBY is my favourite, but it does feel a bit weird to have it as a winner of Best Aussie film (set in NY, with a very international cast). Therefore, at this early stage, it feels like it's going to be a big night for THE TURNING, particularly since there were so many AACTA voters featured in it! I'd give it Best Picture, Director(s), Actor (because Aaron Pederson was surprisingly snubbed in this category), Actress and some of the others. Joel Edgerton seems almost a lock for Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress is so weak, I'd actually predict Alice Keohavong (as they will probably want to give THE ROCKET something major).

(In terms of what I've seen: it's a pity the genre films like 100 BLOODY ACRES and GODDESS weren't up for Best Picture, as they are two of the better films of the year (I liked them better than MYSTERY ROAD and THE ROCKET and, given I could only take about 45 minutes of DEAD EUROPE, I'm sure they were better than that one too! But, unfortunately, if WOLF CREEK can't manage a Best Pic nod, then......).Some of the women that were arguably snubbed were Rachel Griffiths' wonderfully macabre performance in the PATRICK remake (again, they just can't appreciate genre, Angus Sampson nomination aside) and Laura Michelle Kelly's wonderful central performance in GODDESS.

But at least the godawful SAVE YOUR LEGS! wasn't nominated for anything...


And I saw TRACKS a couple of nights ago, and it is wonderful. An early frontrunner for the 2014 AACTA awards. John Curran certainly knows how to capture the beauty of a landscape.

December 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

I was hoping for a Sharni Vinson/Rachel Griffiths nod for PATRICK, too.

I unfortunately haven't been able to see Mystery Road or The Turning, but you may very well be right. I was surprised Pedersen wasn't nominated.

I, however, loathed 100 Bloody Acres and didn't care much for Goddess either.

December 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

LOL at Naomi Watts getting nominated for Horny Moms, I mean Adore.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Elizabeth Debecki was criminally underused in The Great Gatsby. Had they stayed truer to the story, she would have had more scenes to upstage everyone else and actually leave enough of an impact to get a good campaign going in America. I don't think more Jordan Baker could have saved the film, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Rooting for Rose!!

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

If nothing else, Gatsby was beautiful to look at, so I hope Oscar remembers that. But I loved the movie and the book, so I'm biased.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I totally agree that 2013 was a poor year for Australian films.

The big winner will be The Turning. It's a 3 hour film that has practically EVERYONE in the Australian film industry in it.

The Great Gatsby will walk away with just technical awards.

As for all the groaning about whether Gatsby is an Aussie film - well The Rocket is based in Laos and is in a foreign language and Dead Europe is based in - yep, Europe, and has a lot of foreign language in it. Singling out Gatsby is just sour grapes from some in the Australian film industry.

Next year should be a better year for the industry - with Railway Man, Tracks, Wolf Creek 2 being released. And for the life of me - I can't understand how a book written by an Australian ended up NOT being an Australian film or co-production. Talking about The Book Thief.

p.s. I don't think Adoration will win any awards. With the exception of a few, the Australian critics slammed it as much as other critics did.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

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