The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has announced that 35 fiction features will be eligible to compete in the AACTA Awards (formerly AFI Awards) later this year.
AACTA has changed the selection process following industry consultation. Films still have to have had a theatrical release, but AACTA is broadening the definition of a ‘theatrical release’ to include major local and international film festival screenings. This widens the field considerably.
Last year, Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge cleaned up. So who is likely to be nominated this year? We surveyed all 35 eligible entrants to bring you our predictions:
This air traffic control thriller may get some technical nominations.
A FEW LESS MEN
We’re surprised they even bothered entering the dreadful follow-up to A Few Best Men but perhaps Lynette Curran or Kris Marshall can get an acting nod in the supporting categories.
This terrific comedy is a major chance to win all the top awards – read Time Out’s review here.
We were disappointed with the new film by Red Dog director Kriv Stenders, but voters may be attracted to its controversial themes about nationhood.
This low-key thriller done in US accents seems unlikely for awards glory.
The mediocre reviews for this thriller won’t help its chances.
A flawed effort from Cate Shortland can’t hope to match the record-breaking AFI success of her film Somersault, but Teresa Palmer should get a Best Actress nod.
BETTER WATCH OUT
A John Hughes suburban romp that turns torture-porny, this has Levi Miller’s precocious 12 year old hoping to seduce his babysitter (Olivia DeJonge) one wintry night when proceedings are interrupted by a home invasion. Might get an acting nom.
BLUE WORLD ORDER
Another dystopian sci fi flick aimed at the international market, it has Billy Zane (Billy Zane!), Bruce Spence, Jack Thompson…. and noooooo chance of AACTAs glory.
THE BUTTERFLY TREE
Melissa George, Ewen Leslie and Ed Oxenbould star in a magic realist tale from a first-time director that has taken years to get to the screen. We’ll await word from the Melbourne International Film Festival on this one.
THE COLOUR OF DARKNESS
Dealing with the 2009/2010 attacks in Melbourne on Indian students, this film has the worthiness factor but may fall under the radar.
DANCE ACADEMY: THE MOVIE
Good reviews and decent box office should propel this feature film continuation of the popular TV series into contention.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OTTO BLOOM
The opening night film of MIFF 2016 did not really impress audiences, so it’s a long shot.
Worthy topic (historical child abuse), tame execution – may scrape in an acting nomination though.
Shot on location in London and Paris, this indie gay-best-friend story was made with a 50 per cent quota of female crew. Its makers famously crashed last year’s awards to protest the “sausage fest” – which could either help or hinder their film’s chances.
David Wenham’s directorial debut channels Before Sunrise but had a lukewarm festival reception.
EMO: THE MUSICAL
Dismissive reviews and pitiful box office sing a sad song for the chances of this one.
Low budget horror from the makers of The Tunnel = non-event in AACTA terms.
HOUNDS OF LOVE
Expect several nominations for this eerie serial killer chiller including Best Actor for Stephen Curry and Actress for Emma Booth.
A Best Film nomination seems like a cert for this hit adaptation of the well loved novel, plus nominations for Collette and Weaving.
Daniel Radcliffe deserves to take out Best Actor we reckon for this lost-in-the-Amazon endurance tale by Wolf Creek director Greg McLean, although reviews have been mixed.
Non-linear plotting gives this slasher pic some interest, but no prestige.
THE LEGEND OF BEN HALL
Kudos to this crowdfunded film for getting off the ground, but it’s an uneven bushranger epic.
THE LEGO® BATMAN MOVIE
Hello, local film jobs! There’s a lot of goodwill around this sequel, so expect some technical nods (however, its eligibility is limited to the Best Sound, Best Production Design and Best Editing categories).
ONE LESS GOD
A wild card. Lliam Worthington’s film about the Mumbai Taj Mahal hotel terrorist attack has had very respectable reviews and won the top award at the Dance with Films festivals. Keep an eye on it.
THE OSIRIS CHILD: SCIENCE FICTION VOLUME ONE
Shane Abbess’s latest genre effort had tepid reviews but may sneak in through a technical category.
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE
Not Time Out’s cup of tea, but certain to feature in some way – there’s life in the old dog yet.
Disney star Debbie Ryan visited the Illawarra region to make this coming-of-age surf film aimed at the teen market – but it’s not about to make waves awards-wise.
A long time in getting to local cinemas, this drama about a young woman with a terminal illness has the serious of purpose to cut through if it’s lucky.
THE SPACE BETWEEN
This Australian/Italian co-production starring Maeve Dermody played the Italian Film Festival last year but did not get great press.
THAT’S NOT ME
Co-writer-star Alice Foulcher deserves to be a lock for Best Actress in this low budget comedy about a struggling actress and her successful twin.
Ben ‘Blackadder’ Elton is a comedy legend but has had some trouble updating his 1980s style of humour to contemporary times. His first Australian film takes place at a folk festival over three years. We’re skeptical it will find an audience despite the all-star cast, but we’d love to be proven wrong – expect word to filter out on its quality after the August 12 MIFF screening.
WHAT IF IT WORKS?
A love story about mental illness could see nods for Luke Ford or Anna Samson.
This crowd-funded story has a man asked by his partner to cheat on her for the sake of their relationship. If it works, it may parlay a nomination thanks to the new guidlines.
AACTA also announced the nominees in the category of Best Feature Length Documentary. They are: CASTING JONBENÉT; DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE; DEEP WATER: THE REAL STORY; WHITELEY; and ZACH’S CEREMONY.
The awards, which are held in December, will be decided in a two-step voting process that kicks off in October and November. They are also holding a Festival of Australian Film to give their members and the public the chance to see eligible films.