2021 AACTA Awards Winners Announced
Rebel Wilson, Sarah Snook and Russell Crowe among the stars at the 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group. Watch highlights from the Ceremony on FOX ARENA on FOXTEL, BINGE, and AACTA TV.
Nitram and The Newsreader have dominated the 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group; collecting 13 top honours between them at the star-studded ceremony held at Sydney Opera House.
The Newsreader led the pack for television with five AACTAs, including acting wins for Anna Torv and William McInnes. Nitram took out all the major categories for film, including Best Director and Best Film and wins for all four of its scene-stealing cast of Caleb Landry Jones, Anthony LaPaglia, Judy Davis and Essie Davis.
The new ABC series Fisk had a stellar debut at the Awards with a win for Best Narrative Comedy and its star, Kitty Flanagan, named as best comedy performer.
Eric Bana, Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis, Sooshi Mango and Wentworth were among those recognised by viewers in the AACTA Audience Choice Awards. Now in its second year, the awards are determined by online voting and recognise performers from film, TV and digital platforms.
Presenting at the ceremony, AACTA President Russell Crowe paid homage to his close friend and The Sum of Us co-star Jack Thompson for his impressive 50-year career.
In a rousing speech, Crowe captured some of Thompson’s iconic performances in films such as Wake in Fright, The Man From Snowy River, Mystery Road and Breaker Morant.
In a bittersweet moment of the ceremony, the late, influential actor David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM was awarded the Academy’s highest honour, the Longford Lyell Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Australian screen Industry.
The accolade came just over a week after the Yolngu actor’s death, and on the 50th anniversary of his ground-breaking film debut in Walkabout (1971). Gulpilil’s performance in that film has been credited as a cultural turning point for global cinema.
Over his illustrious career, Gulpilil starred in many Australian classics including Storm Boy, Crocodile Dundee, Ten Canoes and Charlie’s Country.
Award-winning writer, actor and director Leah Purcell said: “As a little Aboriginal girl growing up in the Queensland bush, I remember seeing Uncle David in Storm Boy and being mesmerised by his movement, gestures and how he could tell a story through his eyes.”
“Then as a teenager with dreams of acting myself I got to see those same traits in Crocodile Dundee. Fast forward 20 years and I got to work with him in The Proposition and saw it all up close and personal, he was incredible. He was an inspiration, a teacher, a Songman of the highest order and a man of deep culture. We will miss him.”
Fittingly, My Name is Gulpilil – made as the actor was living with stage 4 lung cancer and celebrated his career and life – won this year’s AACTA Award for Best Documentary.
AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said: “David Gulpilil is truly one of Australia’s most influential stars and has proudly spent his life portraying Indigenous Australian culture on our screens. On behalf of the Academy, it is our pleasure to recognise David for his contribution to the Australian film industry and for his long contribution to Australian cinema, spanning over 50 years.”
“In spite of all the challenges the last year has presented, many wonderful local productions hit our screens – on television, film, documentary and the ever-evolving, exciting online space. We‘re thrilled to have been able to gather to celebrate and honour the talent, resilience and creativity shown by so many of these productions.”
Other highlights of the ceremony include Lime Cordiale’s performance of their latest single Apple Crumble featuring a special guest appearance by Idris Elba. Rapper, dancer, artist and actor Danzal Baker --aka Baker Boy—introduced the Longford Lyell Award. In Memoriam featured a touching performance by Steve Kilbey of The Church, who performed Under the Milky Way whilst paying tribute to the late great figures within the industry.
NSW Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the AACTA Awards underscores the importance of film and television production to the NSW visitor economy.
“Sydney and NSW is home to some of country’s brightest screen talent and filming locations, so we are delighted to roll out the red carpet in Sydney for this year’s AACTA Awards. It is fantastic to see the tremendous achievements of those working in front and behind the scenes of our world-class film and television productions honoured for their fantastic achievements during a difficult period for the industry. I would like to congratulate all of the winners of this year’s AACTA Awards for the dedication and innovation to their craft which these awards represent, and for their contribution to the ongoing success of our screen industry, which plays a vital role in the NSW visitor economy.”
Brian Walsh, Executive Director of Television at Foxtel Group said: “Foxtel Group congratulates all the winners and nominees at this year’s AACTA Awards. It has been an incredible year for Australian storytelling despite the hurdles thrown at the industry. We are particularly thrilled to see Wentworth, Mr InBetween and Grand Designs recognised with wins tonight and know the love and support for these Original series continue to live on with millions of fans right around Australia.”
Daniel Monaghan, SVP Content & Programming, 10 ViacomCBS, said: “The 2021 AACTAs were a fantastic celebration of the film and television industries, and we are so proud to have been a part of it. A big congratulations to all the winners and nominees this year. After a challenging year for everyone, it was wonderful to see such a joyous event that showcased the best of the best in entertainment.”
For a full list of AACTA Award Winners and Nominees, click here.
The 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group was broadcast on Channel Ten and will be available for catch-up on Fox Arena on Foxtel, Binge, and AACTA TV. To watch this year’s ceremony, create your free AACTA ScreenFest account here.
See the full list of 2021 AACTA Award Winners below
- AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program: Bluey - Charlie Aspinwall, Joe Brumm, Daley Pearson, Sam Moor - Ludo Studio (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Bonnie Elliott
- AACTA Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Program: Hard Quiz – Kevin Whyte, Chris Walker, Tom Gleeson, John Tabbagh – Thinkative Television & ABC (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Comedy Performer: Kitty Flanagan – Fisk
- AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Cappi Ireland
- AACTA Award for Best Direction in Drama or Comedy: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Emma Freeman
- AACTA Award for Best Direction in Non-Fiction Television: Love on the Spectrum (Episode 4) – Cian O'Clery
- AACTA Award for Best Documentary or Factual Program: Old People's Home For 4 Year Olds – Debbie Cuell, Bethan Arwel-Lewis – Endemol Shine Australia (ABC)
- AACTA Award Best Drama Series: The Newsreader – Joanna Werner, Michael Lucas – Werner Film Productions (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television: Clickbait (Episode 1: Five Million Hits) – Rodrigo Balart
- AACTA Award for Best Entertainment Program: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 – Paul Clarke, Stephanie Werrett, Josh Martin – Blink TV (SBS)
- AACTA Award for Best Factual Entertainment Program: Love on the Spectrum– Jenni Wilks, Karina Holden, Cian O'Clery – Northern Pictures (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Presented by Foxtel: Scott Ryan – Mr Inbetween
- AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Presented by Foxtel: Anna Torv – The Newsreader
- AACTA Award for Best Lifestyle Program: Grand Designs Australia – Michael O'Neill, Brooke Bayvel – Fremantle (Foxtel)
- AACTA Award for Best Miniseries or Telefeature: Fires – Tony Ayres, Andrea Denholm, Liz Watts, Belinda Chayko, Elisa Argenzio – Tony Ayres Production (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Narrative Comedy Series: Fisk – Vincent Sheehan – Porchlight Films (ABC)
- AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Melinda Doring
- AACTA Award for Best Reality Program: MasterChef Australia – Marty Benson, Adam Fergusson, Eoin Maher – Endemol Shine Australia (Network Ten)
- AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Caitlin Yeo
- AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television: Mr Inbetween(Episode 6: Ray Who?) – Scott Ryan
- AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Emma Bortignon, Paul Pirola, Roger Van Wensveen, Brendan Croxon
- AACTA Award for Best Stand-Up Special: Hannah Gadsby–Douglas– Hannah Gadsby, Kevin Whyte, Kathleen McCarthy, John Irwin – Irwin Entertainment & Token Events (Netflix)
- AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: William McInnes – The Newsreader
- AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Rachel Griffiths – Total Control
- AACTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in Film: The Dry – Rob Connolly, Harry Cripps
- AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Film: The Dry – Stefan Duscio
- AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Film: High Ground – Erin Roche
- AACTA Award for Best Direction in Film: Nitram– Justin Kurzel
- AACTA Award for Best Editing in Film: Nitram – Nick Fenton
- AACTA Award for Best Film: Nitram – Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell, Justin Kurzel, Shaun Grant – GoodThing Productions
- AACTA Award for Best Indie Film: Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt) – Monica Zanetti (Dir.), MahVeen Shahraki, Patrick James – Brazen Lot formerly Cobbstar Productions
- AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in Film: Caleb Landry Jones – Nitram
- AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in Film: Judy Davis – Nitram
- AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay in Film: Nitram – Shaun Grant
- AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Film: Mortal Kombat – Naaman Marshall
- AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Film: June Again – Christopher Gordon
- AACTA Award for Best Sound in Film: Mortal Kombat – Robert McKenzie, James Ashton, Des Kenneally, Adrian Medhurst, Jed Dodge, Phil Heywood
- AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in Film: Anthony LaPaglia – Nitram
- AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in Film: Essie Davis – Nitram
- AACTA Award for Best Short Form Comedy Presented by Facebook: All My Friends Are Racist – Enoch Mailangi, Kodie Bedford, Bjorn Stewart, Liliana Munoz –Maximo Entertainment & Hoodlum Entertainment
- AACTA Award for Best Short Form Drama: The Tailings – Liz Doran, Richard Kelly, Stephen Thomas, Stevie Cruz-Martin, Caitlin Richardson – Good Lark Pty Ltd, The Two Jons & Roar Film
- AACTA Award for Best Short Form Entertainment: Strong Women – Corinne Innes, Alexandra Gaulupeau, Ann Megalla, Patrick McCabe – Strong Women Documentary Pty. Ltd. & AM Media
- AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in a Documentary: The Beach (Episode 1: Too Mad Too Shy) – Dylan River
- AACTA Award for Best Documentary: My Name is Gulpilil – Molly Reynolds (Dir.), Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, David Gulpilil – Vertigo Productions
- AACTA Award for Best Editing in a Documentary: My Name is Gulpilil – Tania M. Nehme
- AACTA Award for Best Original Score in a Documentary: Playing With Sharks – Caitlin Yeo
- AACTA Award for Best Sound in a Documentary: Life in Colour with David Attenborough (Episode 1: Seeing in Colour) – Wayne Pashley
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
- Favourite Actor: Eric Bana
- Favourite Competition Reality Show: LEGO® Masters Australia
- Favourite Digital Comedy Creator: Sooshi Mango
- Favourite Entertainment Show: Gardening Australia
- Favourite Film: The Dry
- Favourite Television Drama: Wentworth
- Favourite Television Host: Costa Georgiadis - Gardening Australia - ABC
- AACTA Award for Best Casting Presented by Casting Networks: High Ground – Anousha Zarkesh
- AACTA Award for Best Hair and Makeup presented by HASK: Australian Gangster – Sheldon Wade, Helen Magelaki, Mariel McClorey, Donna Kennedy
- AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects or Animation: Peter Rabbit 2 – Will Reichelt, Simon Pickard, Simon Whiteley, Fiona Chilton, Jason Bath, Matt Middleton – Animal Logic