While the AACTA International Awards always naturally have a slight Australasian bent, this year felt particularly so, with multiple awards for Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, including star Kodi Smit-McPhee, as well as Nicole Kidman and Murray Bartlett.
Campion’s Western drama, an Australian-New Zealand co-production between See-Saw Films, Brightstar, BBC Films, Big Shell Films and Max Film, took home the Best Film prize at the awards today, beating out Being The Ricardos, Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, and Nitram.
Benedict Cumberbatch won Best Lead Actor for his portrayal of rancher Phil Burbank, while Smit-McPhee won Best Supporting Actor.
In his acceptance speech, Cumberbatch spoke with regard to the Australian industry, including The Power of the Dog cinematographer Ari Wegner and editor Peter Sciberras.
“To get this from your industry, and what an industry, you are world leaders, and your exports are iconic, and trailblazing, and inspirational, and have been to me throughout my career,” he said.
Kidman won Best Actress for her outing as Lucille Ball in Being The Ricardos, her seventh AACTA, with the film also winning Aaron Sorkin Best Screenplay.
Best Direction was awarded to Denis Villeneuve for Dune, with the director using his speech to recognise his Australian director of photography, Greig Fraser, while Judi Dench was awarded Best Supporting Actress for Belfast.
In television, there were dual awards for The White Lotus, which won Best Comedy Series and star Bartlett, who won Best Lead Actor in a Series.
Best Drama Series went to Succession, while Kate Winslet won Best Lead Actress in A Series for her role as Mare Sheehan in Mare of Easttown.
“I have always felt so supported by AACTA, I feel sometimes a bit like an honorary Australian because you have acknowledged me before now and it always means a huge amount to be included, to be brought into your film and television community in this way means a lot. I have such admiration for the skill of actors and filmmakers in Australia, so thank you,” said Winslet accepting the award.