The inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards season saw a total of eight events held on two continents:
- The launch of the Australian Academy on 18 August 2011 at the Overseas Passenger Terminal overlooking Sydney Harbour.
- The first ever AACTA Award nominees for Best Feature Length Documentary, Best Short Animation and Best Short Fiction Film were announced on 31 August 2011.
- The Samsung AFI | AACTA Festival of Film ran from 6 October - 14 November 2011, with opening nights in Melbourne and Sydney.
- The inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards nominations announcement was held at NIDA in Sydney on 30 November 2011. Internationally awarded animator, writer and director Adam Elliot joined actors Alexandra Schepisi, Daniel Henshall and Claudia Karvan to announce the nominees.
- The first ever AACTA International Award nominees were announced by Jacki Weaver at the prestigious G'Day USA LA Black Tie Gala on 14 January 2012.
- Simultaneously, the announcement was beamed into the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards Luncheon presented by Digital Pictures hosted by Sigrid Thornton and held at Sydney's Westin Hotel on 15 January 2012. The Luncheon saw the first ever AACTA Award recipients announced, with Awards presented across television, documentary, short film and feature film.
- The inaugural AACTA International Awards Ceremony was held at So Ho House in LA on 27 January 2012.
- Culminating the inaugural Awards season, the spectacular Samsung AACTA Awards Ceremony was held at the Sydney Opera House on 31 January 2012 and broadcast on Channel Nine.
The inaugural AACTA Awards marked AFI | AACTA's 25th year of celebrating Australian television excellence, presenting 15 Awards to 11 television productions. THE SLAP recieved the most nods in the television categories with five AACTA Awards, including Best Telefeature, Mini Series or Short Run Series, Best Direction in Television and Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama.
Two television awards, voted on by the public via News Limited publications, were also presented: the Switched On Audience Choice Award for Best Television Program went to PACKED TO THE RAFTERS, while Asher Keddie received the Switched On Audience Choice Award for Best Performance in a Television Drama for her portrayal of Ita Buttrose in PAPER GIANTS: THE BIRTH OF CLEO.
In feature film, SNOWTOWN led the Awards tally, receiving a total of six Awards including Best Direction and Best Lead Actor (Daniel Henshall). The inaugural AACTA Award for Best Film went to RED DOG, which also received the AFI Members' Choice Award.
- First nominees revealed for inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards (31 August 2011)
- New Festival of Film sees exciting start to Australian screen awards season (21 September 2011)
- Australian Academy announces Don McAlpine as Raymond Longford Award recipient (23 November 2011)
- Anticipation around AACTA's inaugural Awards rises as nominees are announced (30 November 2011)
- AACTA announces first Award winners at the Samsung AACTA Awards Luncheon (15 January 2012)
- Inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards attracts star power to present (19 January 2012)
- Inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards take centre stage, winners announced at Ceremony in Sydney (31 January 2012)