'Red Dog' fetches best pic honor

SYDNEY — Real-crime drama “Snowtown” led the kudo wins but it was feelgood local hit “Red Dog” that fetched top honors as best pic at the inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night.

“Red Dog” was the biggest local pic of last year at the box office, with a boffo $22.3 million haul.

“Snowtown” took home best director for Justin Kurzel; actor for Daniel Henshall, as serial killer John Bunting; supporting actress for Louise Harris, one of the many non-pros tapped for the film; adapted screenplay kudo for Shaun Grant, and best sound and editing.

Kurzel praised the non-pros and the “synchronicity” of meeting Harris in a shopping mall.

He added that, although the pic was criticized Down Under for opening old wounds, it was being well received internationally.

“It was just released in the UK and it did really well over there and it seems to be a story that people overseas find really compelling and different,” Kurzel said.

Pic opens Stateside in March.

Judy Davis snagged best actress for “The Eye of the Storm” while Hugo Weaving won best supporting actor for “Oranges and Sunshine.”

AACTA was created last summer to replace the Australian Film Institute, which had repped the industry for over 50 years.

The AACTA awards replaced the AFI awards and introduced a new international component that was presented in Los Angeles on Friday evening by AACTA prexy Geoffrey Rush.

Rush was on hand for the Sydney kudocast as was AACTA ambassador Cate Blanchett.

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