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Lion leads the pack for the Australian Oscars the AACTAs
Written by
Nick Dent

The nominees have been released for the 7th AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, with five strong contenders for Best Feature Film confirming that it's been a good year for Australian movies.

BAFTA-winning tearjerker Lion, Perth serial killer thriller Hounds of Love, Muslim romcom Ali's Wedding, literary adaptation Jasper Jones and German-set abduction story Berlin Syndrome are all up for the top prize, which will be announced at a gala event in Sydney on December 6. 

Lion scored the most nominations with 12, including Director (Garth Davis), Supporting Actor (Oscar nominee Dev Patel), Supporting Actress (Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman) and, delightfully, Best Lead Actor for Sunny Pawar, the boy who plays Saroo Brierley as a five year old in the movie's powerful first half. The kid's up against Stephen Curry (chilling in Hounds of Love), Ewen Leslie (The Butterfly Tree) and Osamah Sami (Ali's Wedding).

For the first time, films made in Western Australia garnered more nominations that those from any other state. Hounds of Love and Jasper Jones achieved 14 nominations between them (including acting nods for Curry, Emma Booth and Susie Porter in the former and Hugo Weaving in the latter) while Red Dog: True Blue scraped in a nomination for Geoffrey Hall's cinematography.

Weaving's nomination for his memorable turn as the volatile hermit in Jasper Jones marks his third consecutive Supporting Actor nomination. If he wins, it'll be three-for-three for the admired Australian screen great. 

Weaving, Kidman, Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie all managed the double whammy of acting nominations in both feature film and TV categories this year. So we assume they'll probably show up at the awards in that case. (You can too, for that matter.)

There's genuine diversity in all four film acting categories this year. Non-WASP nominees include Sami, Pawar, Patel, Helena Sawires (Best Lead Actress, Ali's Wedding), Don Hany (Best Supporting Actor, Ali's Wedding) and Frances Duca (Best Supporting Actress, Ali's Wedding).

TV wise, queen of the small screen, US actor Elisabeth Moss, received her first AACTA nomination this year for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama (Top of the Lake: China Girl).

Surprisingly, Daniel Radcliffe has been shut out of the Best Lead Actor contest despite his impressive and gruelling work in Greg McLean's survival story Jungle. (Or perhaps not surprisingly – McLean's Wolf Creek never got a nomination for John Jarratt.)

Warwick Thornton's internationally acclaimed Sweet Country is not eligible for the awards this year as it's not released in Australia till February.

Read the full list of nominees here.

Win tickets to the 7th AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, plus accommodation in Sydney.

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