AFI Awards show love to ‘Father’

Roxburgh's debut dominates Australian event

SYDNEY — Richard Roxburgh’s directorial debut “Romulus, My Father” garnered 15 nominations including best film in Down Under’s AFI Awards, the pre-eminent domestic film and TV industry kudos presented by the Australian Film Institute.

“Romulus” lead Eric Bana will go up against his 11-year-old co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee for best actor while pic’s Franka Potente is nommed for actress.

Other best film nominees are tinnitus drama “Noise”; “The Home Song Stories,” a semi-autobiographical family drama from multi-hyphenate Tony Ayers; and refugee comedy “Lucky Miles” which garnered only one other nod, for production design.

Fifteen pics were eligible for the 2007 awards but nominations are shared by just seven, with “The Home Song Stories” receiving a dozen mentions, and 10 nods each to “Noise” and “Clubland” (released Stateside as “Introducing the Dwights”).

Rolf de Heer’s Chaplinesque comedy “Dr. Plonk” didn’t garner any attention and Greg Mclean’s unreleased follow-up to “Wolf Creek,” the crocodile frightener “Rogue,” received a nomination for visual effects not confined to the domestic industry.

For the second consecutive year Geoffrey Rush will present the AFI Awards at the Melbourne Exhibition Center over two nights, Dec. 5 and 6, with the second event broadcast on the Nine Network containing a clips package from Dec. 5.

Among Aussies vying for “international” actress and actor awards are Eric Bana (“Lucky You”), Julian McMahon (“Nip/Tuck”), Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers and Sisters”), Rose Byrne (“Damages”), Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Jacinda Barrett (“Last Kiss”), Dominic Purcell (“Prison Break”) and Hugh Jackman (“The Prestige”).

AFI members — film buffs willing to pay an annual membership fee and see all competing titles, vote for best film and three other categories while all others are judged by industry panels.