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Nicole Kidman to Fund New AACTA Award in Honour of the Late Brian Walsh

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) is honoured to announce the establishment of the Brian Walsh Award for Emerging Talent, sponsored by actress Nicole Kidman, a prestigious award aimed at discovering and nurturing the next generation of Australian actors.

This award pays homage to the late Brian Walsh, one of Australia’s most admired screen creatives, who left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, both in Australia and internationally. Kidman shared a long-term friendship with Walsh, beginning at the infancy of her career, working on the acclaimed series Vietnam (1987) and Bangkok Hilton (1989).

“Brian Walsh played an important and influential role in the careers of many, including my own," Kidman said. "I considered him family, and for that reason I approached AACTA with a view to creating a legacy in his name worthy of Brian's long and substantial career."

The AACTA Brian Walsh Award for Emerging Talent is dedicated to recognising the innovation, dedication, and passion exhibited by individuals who are in the early stages of their acting careers. This Award, instigated by Kidman, promises to continue his legacy by fostering the promising talent who will shape the future of the Australian screen industry. 

The recipient of the AACTA Brian Walsh Award will receive $50,000 towards their career development, contributed by Nicole Kidman. The Award recipient will also gain invaluable career support, substantial exposure and recognition through AACTA and its partners.

Kidman is a renowned Australian actress/producer, Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and AACTA Award-winner. She was the first Australian to receive an Academy Award for Best Actress.

The judging panel comprises some of Australia’s most prominent screen professionals. Led by Culture Editor-at-Large of The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age Michael Idato, with Communications Consultant Jamie Campbell, Actor Rob Collins, Head of Scripted Fremantle Carly Heaton, Chief Content and Commercial Officer at Foxtel Group and Managing Director of BINGE Amanda Laing, Senior Vice-President of International Co-Productions and Development at CBS Studios Lindsey Martin, Casting Director Kirsty McGregor, Director and Producer Unjoo Moon, Director, Producer, Writer and Actor Leah Purcell, and Actor and Director Pamela Rabe.

The AACTA Brian Walsh Award is open to emerging actors with less than five years of professional, credited experience. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and cannot have previously been nominated for an AACTA Award, excluding the AACTA Award for Best Short Film.

Brian Walsh was one of the most admired creatives in the Australian screen industry. His remarkable media journey began in radio. After leadership roles at Ten and the UK’s Sky, in 1994 he became an integral part of the foundation executive team at Foxtel, ushering in the era of Australian subscription television. This led to 28 years at Foxtel, during which he commissioned iconic series such as Wentworth, The Twelve, Colin From Accounts, and A Place to Call Home. His influence also extended to the global success of many, including Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and internationally recognised series such as Neighbours, which launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and Guy Pearce.

AACTA CEO, Damian Trewhella said, “We are incredibly grateful for the generous contribution from Nicole. Nicole’s longstanding friendship with Brian and unwavering support for emerging talent embody the spirit of this award. It is an honour to be able to pay tribute to Brian. This award not only celebrates the dedication and passion of emerging actors but also symbolises a commitment to shaping the future of Australia’s screen industry.”

Chief Content and Commercial Officer at Foxtel Group and Managing Director of BINGE, Amanda Laing said: “Brian dedicated his personal and professional life to identifying, nurturing and mentoring young and emerging talent from right across the creative industry. Many of these people became lifelong friends of his and have gone on to have stellar careers in Australia and on the global stage. This is a very generous commitment from Nicole to honour Brian’s legacy with the next generation of talent and we are forever grateful.”


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