The Australian Writers’ Guild has announced the nominations for the 45th annual AWGIE Awards. Among the nominated is Michael Lucas for his feature film Not Suitable For Children, Kieran Darcy-Smith for Wish You Were Here, the writing teams behind The Slap and Underbelly: Razor and in the comedy division, the teams behind Laid 2, Agony Uncles and At Home With Julia.
The nominees this year reflect the abundance of high quality screenwriters Australia has produced.
“The AWGIES are a unique opportunity to celebrate the writers whose stories have shaped our national culture including feature films, theatre, TV series and serials, mini-series, radio, interactive, animation and children’s programs,” says AWG’s President and Academy Award nominee Jan Sardi. “This rich crop of writers is a sure sign Australia can match it with the best from anywhere in the world when it comes to performance writing, and that’s something to celebrate in this, the 50 year anniversary of the Guild.”
The AWGIE Awards are the only Australian scriptwriting awards judged solely by writers on the basis of the script. The first AWGIES in 1968 included only five categories whereas today we have over 30 categories, ensuring that every performance writing discipline is catered for.
In the output of this year’s nominees we can see a tilt toward re-telling those Australian stories which have become central parts of our history. Stories from the dramatisations of Mabo, Beaconsfield and The Sapphires to the darker side of our larrikin culture in Underbelly and Katherine Thompson’s historical recreation Australia on Trial: The Mount Rennie Outrage.
Australia’s best screenplays this year show we haven’t lost our ability to laugh at ourselves, with fierce competition in the comedy category with Marieke Hardy’s Laid 2 and Agony Uncles.
The sought-after AWGIE award for Stage includes many inspiring Australian playwrights that we should be seeing more of in major theatres around the country. Lally Katz with Neighbourhood Watch is nominated with Vanessa Bates’ Porn.Cake, Lachlan Philpott’s Silent Disco, Alex Broun’s 10,000 Beers and Ron Elisha’s Man in the Middle.
The feature film adaptation category this year has two very strong contenders – Judy Morris’ The Eye of the Storm, starring Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davies, and The Sapphires from Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs. The story of four young, talented Aboriginal girls who entertain US troops in Vietnam as part of a girl group, premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Michael Lucas’s star continues to rise as he has been nominated for his first original feature film Not Suitable for Children, currently showing nationally with Ryan Kwanten as the lead. The other strong nominees are Last Dance by Terence Hammond and David Pulbrook and the emotionally charged drama Wish You Were Here, written by Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price and starring Joel Edgerton. Michael Lucas has also been nominated for the television series Offspring. Also nominated in the series category are three scripts from the popular Spirited series, written by Alice Bell, Ian Meadow and Jacquelin Perske.
In television, the gripping adaptation by the team of writers behind The Slap is up against Underbelly: Razor in the television mini-series category. Peter Gawler will be hoping for his ninth AWGIE award this year as part of the Underbelly team. Susan Smith has been nominated for the powerful original telemovie Mabo along with Judi McCrossin for Beaconsfield, the dramatic rescue of trapped miners that engrossed the nation.
The comedy categories include the controversial series about our Prime Minister At Home with Julia which is up against last year’s category winner Marieke Hardy for Laid 2 and the husband and wife team Amanda Brotchie and Adam Zwar, along with Trudy Hellier, for Lowdown. The Good News Week writing team has been nominated for their ninth AWGIE award with new series Agony Uncles, by Adam Zwar the frank series about love and relationships from the perspective of Aussie blokes.
Prolific writer and multiple award winner Katherine Thomson is up for her tenth AWGIE award for Australia On Trial: The Mount Rennie Outrage in the documentary public broadcast category.
Other prizes to be announced on the night include the major AWGIE award for most outstanding script of 2012, the $25,000 FOXTEL Fellowship for excellence in television writing, the $30,000 Kit Denton Disfellowship, the $15,000 John Hinde Award for Science Fiction and the Monte Miller Awards for unproduced scripts.
The AWGIE Awards will be held at Doltone House in Sydney on Friday 24 August 2012. The full list of nominations is listed below.