Two of the night’s biggest names, Jacki Weaver and Baz Luhrmann, may have been absent from the Australians in Film Awards & Gala Dinner, but the other honorees more than made up for it in rowdiness and revelry.
Steve Papazian, president of worldwide physical production for Warner Bros. pictures, and actors Sullivan Stapleton and Alex O’Loughlin were among the awards recipients at the InterContinental Los Angeles on Oct. 24.
Robert Pattinson presented a Fox Studios Australia Orry-Kelly International Award (or “the R Kelly golden shower award,” as he called it) to Blue-Tongue Films — a production collective of eight filmmakers.
“You look at the film industry now, everyone’s so cut-throat, especially in L.A.,” Pattinson said. “Seeing how the Blue Tongue group came together, they all seem to support each other and they’re also critics that share high quality work without their egos getting involved.”
Mirrah Foulkes, the group’s newest and only female member, was “bullied” into accepting the award on behalf of the group. “It’s a loose collaboration and sometimes we don’t see each other for really long periods of time,” Foulkes said. “We’re all really different filmmakers and sometime we fight. But always there’s a lot of love and safety within this group. I feel like making films can sometimes feel like a crazy, weird ambition. It’s lonely. And just to know you’re surrounded by people that make you feel secure, people that support you. More than anything else, filmmaking is collaborative.”
The brother-sister screenwriting/directing duo of Andy and Lana Wachowski gave Papazian the AusFilm International Award. Papazian was the man behind the decision to shoot their film “The Matrix” in Sydney. “The way dogs sort of have a reputation for finding truffles, Steve has a reputation for finding places that were appropriate and had a good rebate,” Lana joked.
The stand-up act kept the jokes rolling when Andy revealed how desperate they were to get their sci-fi flick produced. “The truth is that we probably would have slept with anybody,” he said. ”We slept with a lot of people in this room. You’re welcome.”
In the most unexpected line of the night, Lana, who used to be named Larry, hinted at her sex-change operation. “It was an amazing experience to go and live in Australia,” she said. “For us, it was a life-changing experience — some would say even transformational. Be careful of the Mardi Gras.”
Papazian, on the other hand, was much more sentimental when he took the stage. “Andy and Lana, they showed us how ‘the one’ or one person can make a difference and change the course of events and change the world,” he said. “With (‘The Great Gatsby,’) Baz had us all reaching out to a green light that was just ever so unreachable. But together, all of us, we make a difference and ultimately we’re going to get that green light.” (Warner Bros. backed “Gatsby.”)
Director David Michôd bestowed Stapleton with an AiF Breakthrough Award. Michôd and his “Animal Kingdom” star kept the audience in stitches as they exchanged digs.
“I feel like this is a roast; I didn’t want Sullivan to be in ‘Animal Kingdom,’” Michôd said. “I actually offered it to somebody else and that person foolishly said no.”