AACTA Winners & Nominees

AFI Past winners

The 1978 AFI Awards were seen as a match between Newsfront (14 nominations) and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith (12 nominations). Newsfront became the first film to be nominated in all 13 categories for which it was eligible.

It was the 21st AFI Awards ceremony and the first to be held outside Melbourne or Sydney. On August 19 1978, the nominees and presenters were shipped to Perth on a TAA 727 aeroplane. On disembarkation, they were greeted by a brass band before being ushered to a reception hosted by the Premier Sir Charles Court. Overseas luminaries present comprised Fred MacMurray, his wife June Haver, Brenda Vaccaro and the less fondly remembered Britt Ekland.

The awards line-up was undoubtedly the best yet. While Best Film was seen as a match between Newsfront and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, they did not have the race to themselves. Richard Franklin’s Patrick was very much the dark horse of the field and Mouth To Mouth was recognised as an amazing achievement - particularly given its budget of $129,000. This left no room for The Last Wave, The Getting Of Wisdom, The Mango Tree or Weekend Of Shadows.

Newsfront finished the evening with eight awards - a new record. They included Best Film (David Elfick), Best Direction (Phillip Noyce), Best Original Screenplay (Bob Ellis, Anne Brooksbank, Phillip Noyce), Best Art Direction (Lissa Coote), Best Costume Design (Norma Moriceau) and Best Editing (John Scott). Most of this group were making their feature film debuts.

The acting awards were split between the two major contenders. As widely anticipated, Bill Hunter took the Best Lead Actor award. He had been previously nominated for his brief, but memorable role in Mad Dog Morgan. Angela Punch-McGregor (then Angela Punch) became the first, but not the last actor to win in the main and the supporting category. The first award was for her performance in The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith and the second for Newsfront. Ray Barrett won the Best Supporting Actor award for his forceful portrayal of a bitter sadist in The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith.

Bruce Smeaton received his second AFI Award for his score for The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith. The Getting Of Wisdom took the Best Adapted Screenplay award. Reflecting the strength of the line-up, The Mango Tree, which had received nine nominations, became the night’s most nominated film to go unrewarded. The Last Wave took the Best Sound award and, in what may have been the most fiercely competitive category, The Last Wave gave Russell Boyd his second AFI Award for Best Cinematography over Newsfront, The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Mango Tree.

The Jury Prize was given to Mouth To Mouth. The Raymond Longford Award went to Paulette, Isobel and Phyllis McDonagh.


Note: Up until 1970, with a few exceptions, AFI Awards were presented in recognition of films and productions, rather than the achievements of individual filmmakers and craftspeople. From 1971, an increasing number of AFI Awards were introduced recognising individual achievements and, from 1976, AFI Awards were presented on this basis across all feature films. From 1980 onwards, all AFI Awards were awarded to individual filmmakers and crafts people.

Where an Award was presented in recognition of a film rather than a filmmaker, we have also listed the producer and director of the film, where this information is available. For craft-specific awards, we have also listed the respective craftsperson where possible. These filmmakers and craftspeople are listed in brackets after the Award that their film received.

1978 Winners & Nominees





  • Jury Prize sponsored by the Victorian Film Corporation
  • Winner:

    Mouth To Mouth (Producer: John Duigan, Jon Sainken, Director: John Duigan)

  • Documentary
  • Winner:

    Growing Up Series Silver Award (Producer: Tom Manefield, Director: Jan Sharp, Phillip Noyce)
    One Designer - Two Designer Bronze Award (Producer: Phillip Adams, Director: Alex Stitt)
    The Last Tasmanian Honourable Mention (Producer / Director: Tom Haydon)
    Pauses Honourable Mention (Producer / Director: Monique Schwarz)
    Woolloomooloo Special Award (Producer: Peter Gailey, Denise White, Director: Pat Fiske, Denise White)

  • Short Fiction
  • Winner:

    Temperament Unsuited Gold Award (Director: Ken Cameron)
    Buck's Party Bronze Award (Producer / Director: Steve Jodrell)
    Letters From Poland Honourable Mention (Production Company: Australian Film and Television School, Director: Sophia Turkiewicz)

  • Award for Cinematography
  • Winner:

    Edge Of The Cold - The Year Of The Kings David Parer (Silver Award)
    Sun Klaus Jaritz (Bronze Award)

  • Best Foreign Film
  • Winner:

    Annie Hall (Producer: Jack Rollins, Director: Woody Allen)

  • Raymond Longford Award
  • Winner:

    Paulette, Isobel and Phyllis McDonagh (Filmmakers)

  • Jedda Award sponsored by the Australian National Travel Association
  • Winner:

    Edge Of The Cold - The Year Of The Kings (Producer / Director: David Parer)