High Ground,” a 1930s-set drama film, picked up eight nominations for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. It narrowly led the field of contenders that included controversial drama “Nitram” with seven nominations, “The Dry” with six and “Penguin Bloom” with five.

Nominations were announced over the weekend ahead of a week of voting. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Sydney Opera House on Dec. 8, 2021.

Six films received nominations for best film: “The Dry,” “The Furnace,” “High Ground,” “Nitram,” “Penguin Bloom” and “Rams.” Five of the six also received nominations for best director.

“High Ground,” received five of its nominations for acting, with two of its performers going head-to-head in the best actor category, and two more in the best supporting actor section.

Similarly, “Nitram,” which chronicles the build-up to a real-life mass shooting in Tasmania, received nominations for its two leads and two supporting cast. Its star Caleb Landry-Jones won the best actor prize in Cannes, where the film premiered in competition.

Shaun Grant was nominated twice, as screenwriter of “Nitram” and co-writer of the adapted screenplay of “Penguin Bloom,” He received a further nomination as one of the producers on “Nitram.”

2021 AACTA Awards Nominations

AACTA Award for Best Film

“The Dry”

“The Furnace”

“High Ground”


“Penguin Bloom”



AACTA Award for Best Indie Film


“Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)”

“Lone Wolf”

“Moon Rock For Monday”

“My First Summer”

“Under My Skin”


AACTA Award for Best Direction in Film

Rob Connolly for “The Dry”

Roderick MacKay for “The Furnace”

Stephen Maxwell Johnson for “High Ground”

Justin Kurzel for “Nitram”

Glendyn Ivin for “Penguin Bloom”


AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in Film

Simon Baker in “High Ground”

Eric Bana in “The Dry”

Caleb Landry Jones in “Nitram”

Ahmed Malek in “The Furnace”

Jacob Junior Nayinggul in “High Ground”


AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in Film

Rose Byrne in “Peter Rabbit 2”

Judy Davis in “Nitram”

Noni Hazlehurst in “June Again”

Genevieve O’Reilly in “The Dry”

Naomi Watts in “Penguin Bloom”


AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in Film

Michael Caton in “Rams”

Baykali Ganambarr in “The Furnace”

Anthony LaPaglia in “Nitram”

Sean Mununggurr in “High Ground”

Jack Thompson in “High Ground”


AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in Film

Essie Davis in “Nitram”

Claudia Karvan in “June Again”

Esmerelda Marimowa in “High Ground”

Miranda Tapsell in “The Dry”

Jacki Weaver in “Penguin Bloom”


AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay in Film

Monica Zanetti for “Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)”

Roderick MacKay for “The Furnace”

Chris Anastassiades for “High Ground”

JJ Winlove for “June Again”

Shaun Grant for “Nitram”


AACTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in Film

Rob Connolly, Harry Cripps for “The Dry”

Shaun Grant, Harry Cripps for “Penguin Bloom”

Will Gluck, Patrick Burleigh for “Peter Rabbit 2”

Jules Duncan for “Rams”