Australian Academy kicks off first ever kudos

The inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts kudos kicked off in Sydney on Sunday with an awards luncheon that honored cinematographer Don McAlpine.

McAlpine, 77, who lensed local pics “Breaker Morant” and “Don’s Party” plus Hollywood hits “Predator” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” among many others, received the Raymond Longford kudo for services to the industry.

“Every time (I worked with him,) Don displayed amazing artistry” said helmer Bruce Beresford, with whom McAlpine worked on “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.” “His amiable personality and respect for actors made my job a lot easier.”

Accepting the kudo, McAlpine said his love of cinema was undiminished in the digital age. “These electronic cameras are exact tools that will enable us to record pictures with precision that we only dreamt of on film. The computer has enabled us to tell stories that were once locked in our imagination — do you really think I want to quit now?” he said.

AACTA also bowed its inaugural list of international nominees via a live link with the G’Day USA event in Los Angeles, where thesp Jackie Weaver (“Animal Kingdom”) announced the runners in five categories: screenplay, director, actor, actress and film.

The 10 film nominees included “The Descendants,” “Midnight in Paris” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

The luncheon also awarded the local TV, docu and f/x prizes.

The inaugural AACTA awards kudocast will take place Jan. 31 at the Sydney Opera House.

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