Lion sweeps AACTA Awards
The rain bucketed down on the AACTA Awards red carpet tonight, but inside Sydney's Star Event Centre for Australian film and television's night of nights, the forecast was Sunny with a chance of total Lion domination.
After beginning the year with six Oscar and four Golden Globe nominations and two BAFTA wins, homegrown movie hit Lion swept the AACTAs, winning 12 awards, including Best Film.
As fellow nominee Stephen Curry had predicted prior to the ceremony, Lion's adorable young star, nine-year-old Sunny Pawar, was unbeatable in the Best Lead Actor category.
First-time actor Pawar is the youngest ever winner in the category, outdoing Simon Burke who was 15 when he won the AFI in 1976 for The Devil's Playground.
While the real Saroo Brierley was in attendance, Pawar was unfortunately not on hand to charm the cream of Australia's industry.
Another Lion winner, Best Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman, did the double last night, also picking up the Best Supporting AACTA in the TV Drama category for her near-unrecognisable turn in Foxtel miniseries Top of the Lake: China Girl.
Hollywood stars Harrison Ford, Liev Schreiber and Michael Caine appeared in a tribute to director Phillip Noyce, who was presented with Australia's highest screen honour, the Longford Lyell Award, in recognition of a blockbuster international career spanning almost 50 years.
The 67-year-old director of films including Patriot Games and Dead Calm said he was "humbled to receive an award that bears the names of two of Australia's greatest filmmakers".
Simon Baker headed home to accept the AACTA Trailblazer Award, ahead of the cinema release of his directorial debut Breath in May.
Lion's domination of the AACTAs comes as no surprise given the international acclaim heaped on Garth Davis's film and its local box office gross of $29.5 million (far outstripping its nearest Aussie rival, Jasper Jones, at $2.7 million).
Only multicultural comedy Ali's Wedding and tense thriller Hounds of Love stopped Lion from gobbling up every feature film award on offer.
The former won Best Original Screenplay for writers Osamah Sami and Andrew Knight, while Emma Booth took Best Lead Actress for her transformative performance in the latter.
Both were categories Lion was not nominated in.
Garth Davis was on hand to collect his AACTA for Best Direction for Lion, while Best Supporting Actor winner Dev Patel and Adapted Screenplay winner Luke Davies now have AACTAs to sit alongside the BAFTAs on their mantle.
Russell Crowe and Rachel Griffiths took the stage to present the inaugural AACTA Award for Best Asian Film to Indian biopic Dangal, about a family of wrestlers.
In the television categories, Foxtel production Top of the Lake: China Girl and ABC drama Seven Types of Ambiguity were the big winners, taking four and five AACTAs respectively.
Top of the Lake took out Best Drama Series, Lead Actress for Elisabeth Moss and Supporting Actor for Ewen Leslie on top of Kidman's win.
The other big drama award, for Best Mini Series, went to SBS's Anthony LaPaglia-starrer Sunshine.
Seven Types of Ambiguity's five AACTAs included Lead Actor in a Drama for Hugo Weaving - the veteran's seventh AFI/AACTA Award overall, but his first in a Television category.
Weaving has taken home a gong from every AACTAs ceremony for the past three years.
Rosehaven star Celia Pacquloa is on a similar hot streak, taking Best Performance in a Comedy for her third consecutive win.
Nine's 2017 ratings juggernaut Australian Ninja Warrior outmuscled its ABC competition to win Best Light Entertainment Series, while veteran Foxtel series Selling Houses Australia was crowned Best Lifestyle Program.
Kidman's AACTA double comes 29 years after she won her first AFI Award for TV miniseries Vietnam, and rounds up a big 2017 for the star, which also saw her feted as the "Queen of Cannes", bag two Emmys for Big Little Lies and turn 50.
AACTA AWARD FEATURE FILM WINNERS
Garth Davis - Lion
BEST LEAD ACTOR
Sunny Pawar - Lion
BEST LEAD ACTRESS
Emma Booth - Hounds of Love
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Dev Patel - Lion
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nicole Kidman - Lion
BEST ASIAN FILM
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Andrew Knight & Osamah Sami - Ali's Wedding
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Luke Davies - Lion
Greig Fraser - Lion
Alexandre de Francheschi - Lion
Robert Mackenzie, Glenn Newnham, Nakul Kamte, Andrew Ramage, James Ashton, Mario Vaccaro - Lion
BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE
Volker Bertelmann & Dustin O'Halloran - Lion
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Chris Kennedy - Lion
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Cappi Ireland - Lion
BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY
AACTA AWARD TELEVISION WINNERS
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Top of the Lake: China Girl (Foxtel)
BEST TELEFEATURE OR MINI SERIES
BEST LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT SERIES
Australian Ninja Warrior (Nine)
BEST LIFESTYLE PROGRAM
Selling Houses Australia (Foxtel)
BEST REALITY SERIES
MasterChef Australia (Ten)
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Hugo Weaving - Seven Types of Ambiguity
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Elisabeth Moss - Top of the Lake: China Girl
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY
Celia Pacquola - Rosehaven
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Ewen Leslie - Top of the Lake: China Girl
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Nicole Kidman - Top of the Lake: China Girl
Jacqueline Perske - Seven Types of Ambiguity
BEST DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM
War on Waste (ABC)