AACTA Winners & Nominees

AFI Past winners

25 feature films were entered in the 1986 AFI Awards, of which 14 received one nomination or more. The most nominated films were Malcolm, a highly original first feature made on an extremely low budget by the team of Nadia Tass and David Parker, and The Fringe Dwellers. Director Bruce Beresford had completed two features in Hollywood including the Academy Award-winning Tender Mercies, before returning to Australia for The Fringe Dwellers. Like Tass and Parker, he was competing in the Direction and Screenplay categories (the latter shared with his then wife Rhoisin).

Another finalist for Best Film was the dramatically powerful Short Changed from Producer Ross Matthews and Director George Ogilvie. Ogilvie had previously enjoyed a distinguished career as a theatre and opera director. Rounding out this quartet was The More Things Change from producer Jill Robb and director Robin Nevin. Nevin, like Tass, Parker and Ogilvie was making her feature film debut.

Multiple nominees were Malcolm (8), The Fringe Dwellers (7), The More Things Change (6 nominations including 3 for performances), Short Changed (5), For Love Alone (5), Kangaroo (4), Young Einstein (4), Burke & Wills (4), Playing Beatie Bow (3), Cactus (2), Right Hand Man (2) and Death Of A Soldier (2).

Malcolm scooped the pool, taking eight awards from eight nominations. These included Best Film, Best Direction and Best Original Screenplay. It also took the Best Sound award and Ken Sallows won the Best Editing award at his first editing nomination. The film also scored three acting awards. Colin Friels won Best Lead Actor at his first nomination and John Hargreaves was named Best Supporting Actor (his third award from four nominations). Lindy Davies, making her feature film debut, won in the Best Supporting Actress category. In a further acknowledgement of their achievement, Tass and Parker received the Byron Kennedy Award.

The only other multiple winner was Kangaroo. Judy Davis won Best Actress, giving her a third AFI Award, and Terry Ryan won the Best Costume award. This was his first win after five nominations for HarlequinGallipoli, Starstruck, The Year Of Living Dangerously and The Coca-Cola Kid.

Fringe Dwellers gave Beresford the Best Adapted Screenplay award and Young Einstein won Best Music. Peter James won the Best Cinematography award for The Right Hand Man. This was his second award from his second nomination. The award for Best Production Design went to George Liddle for Playing Beatie Bow. This was his first nomination. In this same year, he was nominated for Best Costume Design for Beatie Bow and Burke & Wills.

There were some major achievements in the non-feature category. Chile: Hasta Cuando? from David Bradbury was named Best Documentary, while Bradbury also won Best Direction in a Non-Feature Film. As with Bradbury’s documentary Frontline, the AFI Award would precede an Academy Award nomination for the same film.

Best Screenplay in a Non-Feature Film went to Pat Fiske for Rocking The Foundations, which also won the award for Best Editing in a Non-Feature Film.

For the first time, Television awards were handed out.

In the mini-series category, The Dunera Boys won five awards, these being Best Mini-Series (Bob Weis), Best Screenplay and Best Direction (both to Ben Lewin), Best Actor (Simon Chilvers) and Best Actress (Deirdre Robinson).

There was no dominant telefeature. The Perfectionist was named Best Telefeature(Pat Lovell); Best Direction went to Displaced Persons (Geoffrey Nottage); Best Screenplay to John Misto (Natural Causes); Best Actor to Peter Kowitz (The Long Way Home) and Best Actress to Candy Raymond (Breaking Up).

The Raymond Longford Award was presented to Barry Jones for his services to the film industry. Jones was a key figure in the re-emergence of the Australian film industry and the first chairman of AFTRS.

1986 Winners & Nominees



  • Best Feature Film
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Nadia Tass, David Parker


    Short Changed Ross Matthews
    The Fringe Dwellers Sue Milliken
    The More Things Change Jill Robb

  • Best Achievement in Direction
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Nadia Tass


    Cactus Paul Cox
    Short Changed George Ogilvie
    The Fringe Dwellers Bruce Beresford

  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Winner:

    Malcolm David Parker


    Short Changed Robert Merritt
    The More Things Change Moya Wood
    Young Einstein Yahoo Serious, David Roach

  • Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source
  • Winner:

    The Fringe Dwellers Bruce Beresford, Rhoisin Beresford


    For Love Alone Stephen Wallace
    Kangaroo Evan Jones
    Playing Beatie Bow Peter Gawler

  • Best Achievement in Cinematography
  • Winner:

    The Right Hand Man Peter James


    Burke & Wills Russell Boyd
    The Fringe Dwellers Donald M. McAlpine
    Young Einstein Jeff Darling

  • Best Achievement in Editing
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Ken Sallows


    Playing Beattie Bow Andrew Prowse
    Short Changed Richard Francis-Bruce
    The Fringe Dwellers Tim Wellburn

  • Best Achievement in Sound
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Roger Savage, Craig Carter, Dean Gawen, Paul Clark


    Burke & Wills Syd Butterworth, Phil Heywood, Ron Purvis, Lee Smith, Peter Fenton, Jeanine Chialvo
    Playing Beatie Bow Rob Cutcher, Frank Lipson, Glenn Newnham, James Currie, Peter Smith, David Harrison
    Young Einstein Roger Savage, Bruce Lamshed, Steve Burgess, Geoff Grist, Annie Breslin, Peter Fenton

  • Best Original Music Score
  • Winner:

    Young Einstein William Motzing, Martin Armiger


    Burke & Wills Peter Sculthorpe
    For Love Alone Nathan Waks
    The More Things Change Peter Best

  • Best Achievement in Production Design
  • Winner:

    Playing Beatie Bow George Liddle


    Dead End Drive-in Larry Eastwood
    For Love Alone John Stoddart
    The Right Hand Man Neil Angwin

  • Best Achievement in Costume Design
  • Winner:

    Kangaroo Terry Ryan


    Burke & Wills George Liddle
    For Love Alone Jennie Tate
    Playing Beattie Bow George Liddle

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Colin Friels


    Cactus Robert Menzies
    Death Of A Soldier Reb Brown
    The More Things Change Barry Otto

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
  • Winner:

    Kangaroo Judy Davis


    For Love Alone Helen Buday
    The Fringe Dwellers Justine Saunders
    The More Things Change Judy Morris

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Winner:

    Malcolm John Hargreaves


    Death Of A Soldier Maurie Fields
    Kangaroo John Walton
    Short Changed Mark Little

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Winner:

    Malcolm Lindy Davies


    The Fringe Dwellers Kylie Belling
    The More Things Change Victoria Longley
    Twelfth Night Kerry Walker