MELBOURNE — Bill Bennett may not have set Hollywood on fire with his Sandra Bullock starrer “Two If by Sea,” but he lit up the Australian Film Institute Awards, Oz’s highest kudos for film and TV.
Beyond’s “Kiss or Kill,” Bennett’s road movie that he wrote, directed and co-produced, was the big winner with five gongs, taking home prizes for best film (presented by Nicole Kidman), direction, supporting actor (Andrew Gilbert), editing and sound.
Another multiple-award winner was Southern Star’s “Doing Time for Patsy Cline,” which claimed four trophies for best actor Richard Roxburgh, cinematography, score and costume design. Beyond’s “The Well” finished with three awards, for Laura Jones’ adapted screenplay, actress Pamela Rabe and production design.
Best foreign film was Mike Leigh’s “Secrets & Lies,” while the Raymond Longford award for services to the industry went to producer Jan Chapman, (“Love Serenade,” “The Piano”). Thesp John Polson took the Byron Kennedy award for pursuit of excellence for encouraging young filmmakers with his annual Tropicana short film fest.
Cate Blanchett won best supporting actress for her work in “Thank God He Met Lizzie,” while Village Roadshow’s “The Castle” won best original screenplay for the team behind hugely popular TV series “Frontline” — Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Fitch — which won the best TV screenplay and TV drama honors.
Beyond’s “Good Guys, Bad Guys” sleuthed gongs for best TV miniseries and direction, while Artist Services’acclaimed miniseries “Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies” took best actress (Anne Looby) and actor (David Wenham) awards. Best kidvid was Artist Services’ “The Wayne Manifesto,” which also received the young actors award for Jeffrey Walker.