After sharing the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year, Jane Campion’s “The Piano” has won a bunch of hometown plaudits — and how.The film was crowned Friday with a record 11 Australian Film Institute awards — the Aussie equivalent of the Oscars. A cultural hodgepodge — French financed (the late Francis Bouygues’ CIBY 2000), New Zealand lensed (by a Kiwi-born writer-director), and with an international cast — the pic nevertheless qualifies as Australian because of Sydney-based producer Jan Chapman. Nominated in 13 categories, “The Piano” was the hot favorite. In the 35th AFI awards ceremony held at Sydney’s Wesley Center and telecast on pubcaster ABC, it garnered grail for best film, direction, screenplay, leading actress (Holly Hunter), leading actor (Harvey Keitel), cinematography (Stuart Dryburgh), original score, sound, production design, costume design and editing. The awards have a definite B.O cachet here, so Aussie distrib Buena Vista/Roadshow can expect an uplift in receipts. After 13 weeks, the pic has grossed a handsome $ 4.7 million and is still playing on 63 screens. The previous record was set in 1980 when Bruce Beresford’s “Breaker Morant” nabbed 10 awards. Last year Baz Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom” earned 13 noms and eight awards. Neil Jordan’s “The Crying Game” was named best foreign film. Judy Davis was honored as best supporting actress for “On My Own” and David Ngoombujarra was best supporting actor for “Blackfellas.”
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