Joel Edgerton and Simon Baker make history with AACTA nominations

Nicole Kidman and Joel Edgerton on the set of ‘Boy Erased.’

Joel Edgerton and Simon Baker have scored nominations in the feature film direction and acting categories for Boy Erased and Breath, the first time that’s happened in the same year in AFI | AACTA history.

Edgerton and Baker will compete for four prizes at this year’s awards which will be handed out at an industry luncheon on December 3 and at the ceremony on December 5. Both titles have been nominated for best film and Edgerton and Baker are also in the running for best supporting actor and adapted screenplay.

In total 19 features received nominations, with five vying for best film: Boy Erased, Breath, Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling’s Cargo, Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country.

The five titles competing for the new category of best indie film budgeted under $2 million are the Jacobson brothers’ Sibling Rivalry, Benjamin Gilmour’s Jirga (Australia’s entry for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar), Mairi Cameron’s The Second, Alena Lodkina’s Strange Colours and Jason Raftopoulos’ West of Sunshine, whose star Damian Hill received a posthumous nomination for best lead actor.

For the seventh time Beresford is nominated for best director, tying with Paul Cox for the most nods in the category. He won the best direction accolades for Don’s Party and Breaker Morant, for which he also garnered the screenplay prize, and the adapted screenplay prize for The Fringe Dwellers.

Beresford tells IF he is pleased to be nominated but can’t attend the awards because he has already booked a long-overdue holiday in the Blue Mountains with his wife Virginia. Thornton is also in the running for best director.

Bruce Beresford (L) on the set of ‘Ladies in Black.’

Ladies in Black scored 11 nominations including lead actress (Julia Ormond and Angourie Rice), supporting actress (Noni Hazlehurst), adapted screenplay (Beresford and Sue Milliken), editing (Mark Warner), cinematography (Peter James), original score (Christopher Gordon), costume design (Wendy Cork) and hair and makeup (Jen Lamphee, Anna Gray, Beth Halstead).

Sweet Country nabbed 10 nods including lead actor (Hamilton Morris), supporting actress (Natassia Gorey-Furber), original screenplay (David Tranter, Steven McGregor), cinematography (Thornton), editing (Nick Meyers), sound (Tranter, Thom Kellar, Sam Gain-Emery, Will Sheridan), costume design (Heather Wallace) and the inaugural prize for best casting (Anousha Zarkesh).

Breath received nine including supporting actress (Elizabeth Debicki), adapted screenplay (Gerard Lee, Baker and Tim Winton), cinematography (Marden Dean, Rick Rifici), editing (Dany Cooper), sound (Robert Mackenzie) and casting (Nikki Barrett).

Boy Erased, which opens here on November 8 via Universal, garnered seven including lead actor (Lucas Hedges), supporting actor (Russell Crowe, Edgerton) and supporting actress (Nicole Kidman).

In television, 51 productions are competing for 21 awards. The ABC-funded Mystery Road from Bunya Productons and Werner Film Productions’ Riot top scored with 11 nominations apiece, including lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor, direction, screenplay, editing and original music score.

The ABC garnered 57 nods, more than any other broadcaster. Michael Carrington, ABC acting director, entertainment and specialist, said: “Telling remarkable and relevant Australian stories is at the heart of our role as the nation’s leading public broadcaster. Thank you to everyone within the ABC and our external partners for their dedication towards delivering the best content to all Australians every day.”’

The candidates for best drama series are Jack Irish, Mr Inbetween, Mystery Road, Rake and Wentworth.

Dead Lucky, Friday on My Mind, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Riot and Safe Harbour are in contention for best telefeature or miniseries.

In the running for best comedy program are Rosehaven, True Story with Hamish & Andy, The Letdown, Black Comedy and Nanette, the first time a stand-up special has been nominated.

The nominees for best entertainment program are Gogglebox Australia, Hard Quiz, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, Little Big Shots and The Weekly With Charlie Pickering.

The Bureau of Magical Things, Grace Beside Me, Guess How Much I Love You, My Year 7 Life and The New Legends of Monkey are up for best children’s program.

Best direction in a TV drama or comedy is a a race between Rachel Perkins (Mystery Road), Nash Edgerton (Mr Inbetween), Jeffrey Walker (Riot) and Glendyn Ivin (Safe Harbour).

Judy Davis, who holds the record for the most wins across performance categories – eight – scores her first TV nod for Mystery Road.

Among those who received their first ever nominations are Hannah Gadsby (Nanette), Hazem Shammas and Nicole Chamoun (Safe Harbour), Xavier Samuel (Riot) and five who are up for the the subscription TV gong for best new talent: Inez Currõ (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper), Nick Riewoldt (AFL 360) and Chika Yasumura and Scott Ryan (Mr Inbetween).

Celia Pacquola’s nomination for best performance in a TV comedy for Rosehaven and Richard Roxburgh’s for best lead actor in a TV drama for Rake is the fourth for both.

Gurrumul and Mountain lead the field in the documentary categories with five each, both vying for best feature doc alongside Ghosthunter, Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible and Working Class Boy.

Nominated for best documentary or factual program are After the Apology, Employable Me, Hawke: The Larrikin and the Leader, The Queen & Zak Grieve and You Can’t Ask That.

Up for best online video or series are BC Explained, Deadlock, Homecoming Queens, Kiki and Kitty and Small Town Hackers.

After winning best reality series four times MasterChef Australia received its eighth consecutive nomination.

“AFI | AACTA has been celebrating our industry and its immense talent since the first AFI Awards in 1958, where ten awards were presented. 60 years on, we have 395 individuals from 105 productions competing for a total of 54 awards, recognising excellence across all industry sectors, including feature film, television, documentary, short film, online, visual effects and animation,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.

“We’re thrilled to see such a wealth of screen talent recognised at this year’s Awards – from some of the earliest AFI Award winners to many emerging and early-career practitioners – and we look forward to celebrating their fine achievements.”

View the full list of nominees here.