Aussie film awards strictly a sweep

To no one’s surprise, Baz Luhrmann’s debut “Strictly Ballroom,” the No. 1 film at the Australian B.O., swept the 1992 Australian Film Institute Awards, handed out in Melbourne Oct. 16.

“Strictly Ballroom,” an offbeat romance/comedy about the world of ballroom dancing, has grossed more than $ A11 million ($ 8 million) in Oz to date.

It won eight awards, including best film for producer Tristram Miall, best director, best screenplay (Luhrmann and Craig Pearce) and best female and male supporting actors, Pat Thomson (awarded posthumously) and Barry Otto. It also won best editing, production design and costume design.

“Romper Stomper,” Geoffrey Wright’s film about an inner-city Nazi gang, saw Russell Crowe win the best actor award, while Lisa Harrow was similarly recognized for her work in Gillian Armstrong’s “The Last Days of Chez Nous.”

Acclaimed Roadshow Coote & Carroll/Australian Broadcasting Corp. miniseries “The Brides of Christ” took the main TV awards, except best actor, which went to Gary Sweet, headliner of Southern Star/Xanadu series “Police Rescue.”

Other awards included best cinematography for Bruce Beresford’s “Black Robe;” best foreign film (a new award) to Brit Anthony Minghella’s film “Truly Madly Deeply;” best docu to “Black Harvest,” Bob Connelly and Robin Anderson’s third examination of life in the highlands of Papua New Guinea; and best kid’s drama to an episode of “Lift Off” from the Australian Children’s TV Foundation.

About 1,800 people attended the awards, including Prime Minister Paul Keating. However, unlike previous years, the awards weren’t televised.

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