AACTA Winners & Nominees

AFI Past winners

The 1989 AFI Awards produced 12 nominees, with the bulk of the nominations in very few hands. These films showcased a mixture of new and proven talent. The most nominated film was the unheralded Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead, which was a finalist in 9 categories. Next was the much anticipated Evil Angels with 8 nominations, matched by a low budget drama, Georgia, and the Kennedy Miller thriller Dead Calm, also with 8. Paul Cox’s Island followed with 7 nominations. The other multiple nominees were Emerald City (5), Sweetie (5) and Celia (2).

Evil Angels’ sweep comprised Best Film, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress. This was an unprecedented triumph, exceeding the achievements of Newsfront, Gallipoli, Careful He Might Hear You and Malcolm, which had each won in four of the five categories. The year’s awards for direction and screenplay gave Schepisi two wins from three nominations in both categories. The award for Best Lead Actor went to Sam Neill at his first nomination. Best Lead Actress winner Meryl Streep had received an Academy Award nomination for the same film.

Though beaten in the principal categories, Dead Calm had four major successes. Dean Semler won the AFI Award for Best Cinematography for the fourth time out of eight nominations. Richard Francis–Bruce won for Best Editing award, having been previously nominated for Careful He Might Hear You, Short Changed and Bullseye. Graeme Revell won the Best Original Music award on his first nomination. Dead Calm's fourth AFI Award was for Best Sound, which went to Ben Osmo, Lee Smith and Roger Savage.

Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead unearthed some major talents, including production designer Chris Kennedy, who won the AFI Award in this category. Jane Campion’s first feature Sweetie took the award for Best Original Screenplay (shared by her and Gerard Lee). Rose Chong won Best Costume Design for What The Moon Saw (her first nomination). Chris Haywood was named Best Supporting Actor for Emerald City – his second success from five nominations. Victoria Longley won Best Supporting Actress in a very strong field that also included Maryanne Fahey (Celia), Dorothy Barry (Sweetie) and Nicole Kidman (Emerald City). Longley had been previously nominated for her appearances in The More Things Change and The Alien Years.

There were six finalists in the television mini-series category, with the bulk of the nominations going to Edens Lost (6), Act Of Betrayal (5) and The Bodysurfer (4). Peter Kowitz was named Best Actor in a Mini-Series for his performance in The Body Surfer. The Best Screenplay in a Mini-Series award was shared between the writers of The Body Surfer (Suzanne Hawley, Christopher Lee, Denis Whitburn) and Michael Gow for Edens Lost. Edens Lost won the other awards, which were Best Actress in a Mini-Series (Julia Blake), Best Direction in a Mini-Series (Neil Armfield) and Best Mini-Series (Margaret Fink).

The telefeature section was dominated by four films, which were Malpractice (6 nominations), Rescue and Police State (both 5) and Prejudice (4). Best Actress in a Telefeature went to Pat Thomson for Malpractice. Peter Fisk took the prize for Best Direction in a Telefeature with Rescue, beating a strong field which included Bill Bennett (Malpractice) and Chris Noonan (Police State). Police State collected Best Actor in a Telefeature (Bill Hunter), Best Screenplay in a Telefeature (Ian David and Francine Finnane), as well as Best Telefeature (Rod Allan).

In the non-feature category, the award for Best Documentary went to Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly for their second documentary Joe Leahy’s Neighbours. They had won the same award in 1983 with First Contact. David Swann won the awards for Best Short Fiction Film and Best Screenplay in a Non-Feature film for Bonza.

The Byron Kennedy Award acknowledged Jane Campion’s brilliant and innovative work in film and television.

The Raymond Longford Award was bestowed posthumously on actor John Meillon, who had died earlier in the year. Meillon’s body of work included major roles in On The Beach, The Sundowners, Wake In Fright, Walkabout, The Cars That Ate Paris, The Fourth Wish, Picture Show Man, The Dismissal and Crocodile Dundee.

1989 Winners & Nominees





  • Kodak Award for Best Documentary
  • Winner:

    Joe Leahy's Neighbours Robin Anderson, Bob Connolly (Producer)


    A Little Life Deborah Howlett (Producer)
    Confessions Of A Simple Surgeon NSW Dept of TAFE (Production Company)
    Philippines, My Philippines Maree Delofski, Chris Nash (Producer)

  • Kodak Award for Best Animated Film
  • Winner:

    Still Flying Robert Stephenson (Producer)


    Lucky Girl Jeffrey Noonan (Producer)
    Ratropolis Jenni B-Zipporah, Bix Nussey (Producer)
    The Shadowlands Anthony Lucas (Producer)

  • Kodak Award for Best Short Fiction Film
  • Winner:

    Bonza Deborah Hoare (Producer)


    Crack In The Curtains Anna Grieve (Producer)
    Lover Boy Daniel Scharf (Producer)
    The Contract David Ogilvy (Producer)

  • Kodak Award for Best Experimental Film
  • Winner:

    Soul Mate Linc Hiatt (Producer)


    Shadow Panic Margot Nash (Producer)
    The Tenth Man Mark Osborn (Producer)
    Valley Of Desire Kath Ford, Sophie Jackson (Producer)

  • Kodak Award for Best Achievement in Direction
  • Winner:

    The Contract David Ogilvy


    Contradictions David Knaus
    Crack In The Curtains Jinks Dulhunty
    Green Tea And Cherry Ripe Solrun Hoaas

  • Kodak Award for Best Screenplay
  • Winner:

    Bonza David Swann


    No Need To Stand Steven Faux
    Ruthven - A Poem Of Life And Dettol Barry Dickins
    The Contract David Ogilvy

  • Kodak Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography
  • Winner:

    Shadow Panic Sally Bongers


    Hunters Nicholas Adler
    Philippines, My Philippines John Whitteron
    The Bear Vladimir Osherov

  • Kodak Award for Best Achievement in Editing
  • Winner:

    Australia Daze Denise Haslem, Tim Litchfield


    A Day And A Half Matthew Tucker
    Buried Alive: The Story Of East Timor Rod Hibberd
    Soul Mate Linc Hiatt

  • Kodak Award for Best Achievement in Sound
  • Winner:

    Bodywork Liam Egan, Greg Bell, Robert Sullivan


    Crack In The Curtains James Manche, Robert Sullivan, Counterpoint Sound
    Joe Leahy's Neighbours Robin Anderson
    The Bear Tim Chau, Ralph Strasser, Mark Tarpey