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Lion dominates at the AACTA Awards as producer thanks industry for calling out sexual harassment

Australia’s award-winning Lion picked up the most gongs at last nights Australian Academy of Cinema, Television and Arts (AACTA) Awards, winning all five of its nominated categories.

The film – which is based on the true story of a young boy who goes searching for his birth mother – won best film while Garth Davis won the award for best direction, Dev Patel winning the award for best supporting actor and Nicole Kidman winning best supporting actress.

Nine-year-old star of Lion, Sunny Pawar, received the AACTA Award for the bets lead actor, becoming the youngest winner in the category in more than 40 years.

Lion took home five awards last night

Top of the Lake: China Girl picked up three awards, as Kidman took home best guest or supporting actress in a television drama and Elisabeth Moss and Ewen Leslie winning best lead actress in a television drama and best guest or supporting actor in a television drama respectively.

Producer Angie Fielder took the opportunity to call about sexual harassment in the industry: “As a film that was partly funded by the Weinstein company, it would a miss of us not to acknowledge tonight the incredible bravery of the women and men who have come forward to break the silence about sexual harassment.

Fielder’s comments follow actress Rachel Griffiths comments on the red carpet about former AACTA chairman Geoffrey Rush being ‘no Weinstein’.

Rush stepped down last week after allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” during Rush’s time with the Sydney Theatre Company appeared in the news.

“Hopefully this starts a time of change. It’s really encouraging to see the industry taking a stand so let’s keep talking about it,” she said.

The television awards saw Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior win best light entertainment series, Selling House Australia win best lifestyle television series and Ten’s Masterchef Australia, which took home best reality television series for the third consecutive year. Sunshine took home the award for best tele-feature or mini series.

Beverley McGarvey, Ten’s chief content officer said of the win: “As MasterChef Australia heads for its exciting and highly engaging 10th season in 2018, we are delighted that it has again won the AACTA Award for Best Reality Television Series.”

Simon Baker was awarded the Trailblazer award for his achievements as both an Australian director and actor. Director Phillip Noyce was awarded what was described as Australia’s ‘highest screen accolade’ for his films, The Longford Lyell Award, while Martin Butler and Bentley Dean picked up the Byron Kennedy Award.

Noyce has been behind films including Rabbit Proof Fence, Salt, The Giver, Dead Calm and Patriot Games.

Congratulating this year’s recipients, AFI and AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said: “In a year that saw our industry deliver some of the strongest and most diverse stories we’ve ever seen, we are delighted to see such a varied slate of productions, people and performances recognised.

“Tonight’s recipients serve as an inspiration to the industry and audiences alike. In particular, I’d like to congratulate our inaugural Best Asian Film Award winner, Dangal, and our individual Award recipients: Phillip Noyce, Simon Baker, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean.”

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