The Victorian projects that dominated AACTA 2021

Victoria's vibrant screen industry demands your attention—and for good reason. 

It's been a stellar year for Victorian productions, with Film Victoria-supported projects sweeping up at the AACTA 2021 Award Ceremony across multiple categories. The talent and skills of Victoria's vibrant screen industry was felt at the event, with major awards being claimed by attention-grabbing productions The Newsreader, Fisk, New Gold Mountain, Fires, and more. 

Reflecting on the night, here are the local projects that dominated the awards, showcasing some of Australia's best and brightest, and the emerging practitioners that are making waves with their craft. How many of these critically-acclaimed television shows, films, docos and miniseries have you seen?

 

The Newsreader / Supplied by ABC

 

THE NEWSREADER

The Newsreader, a six-part drama series set in a television newsroom in 1986, led the TV pack with five AACTA awards, including Best Drama Series and actor awards for Anna Torv and William McInnes. It was nominated for the most awards—capturing 16 in total ahead of the night—and brought together the incredible talents of Joanna Werner, Michael Lucas, Kim Ho and many more to tell a story that wove together real history and complex characters. 

 

The Newsreader won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Drama Series, awarded to Joanna Werner, Michael Lucas, Werner Film Productions Pty Ltd and ABC
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama presented by Foxtel, awarded to Anna Torv
  • AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, awarded to William McInnes 
  • AACTA Award for Best Direction in Drama or Comedy, awarded to The Newsreader - Episode 1: Three, Two, One... directed by Emma Freeman
  • AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television, awarded to The Newsreader - Episode 1: Three, Two, One... designed by Melinda Dorin

​​

The Newsreader was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama presented by Foxtel, nominated to Sam Reid
  • AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, nominated to Michelle Lim Davidson
  • 2x AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television, nominated to Michael Lucas and Michael Lucas & Kim Ho
  • AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Casting Presented by Casting Networks

 

Clickbait / Supplied by Netflix / Photography by Ben King 

 

CLICKBAIT

Taking Netflix by storm and shot in Victoria (which doubled for Oakland, California), Clickbait was a break-out thriller series that topped the Netflix charts for weeks on end. Victorian co-creator Tony Ayres told Film Victoria that he felt Clickbait was a truly international show and a first for the streaming service. “Netflix hadn’t done a show set in America but shot in Australia before, this was a first for them,” said Ayres. The show was awarded Best Editing In Television for its ultra cool and heart-thumping first episode, made possible by Rodrigo Balart.

 

Clickbait won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television, awarded to Rodrigo Balart

​​

Clickbait was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Drama Series
  • AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television
  • AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Television Drama

 

Fisk / Supplied by ABC

 

FISK

Capturing the quirkiness and off-beat flair of Australian comedy, Fisk had people all around the world laughing out loud. Nabbing all the awards it was nominated for, this legal comedy follows the life of Helen Tudor-Fisk (played by the charismatic and award-winning comedian Kitty Flanagan), who takes a job in a small suburban firm specialising in wills and probate, under the assumption that—because the clients are dead—she won't have to deal with people. The show won Best Narrative Comedy Series and Best Comedy Performer for Flanagan. 

 

Fisk won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Narrative Comedy Series, awarded to Vincent Sheehan, Porchlight Films Pty Ltd and ABC
  • AACTA Award for Best Comedy Performer, awarded to Kitty Flanagan

 

New Gold Mountain / Supplied by SBS & Goalpost Television

 

NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN

Filmed in Sovereign Hill and around both Melbourne and regional Victoria, New Gold Mountain was the SBS miniseries drama that shared the untold story of the Australian gold rush from the perspective of Chinese miners who risked everything for a chance at unlikely fortune in a new land. Cappi Ireland topped the Best Costume Design in Television for her work, while series composer Caitlin Yeo won Best Original Score.

 

New Gold Mountain won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television, awarded to Cappi Ireland
  • AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television, awarded to Caitlin Yeo

​​

New Gold Mountain was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Miniseries or Telefeature
  • AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Hair and Makeup presented by HASK

 

Fires / Supplied by ABC / Photography by Ben King 

 

FIRES

Capturing the heartbreak, loss, heroism, and humanity of affected communities, Fires was a miniseries with heart. Inspired by true events from the devastating 2019-2020 fires, the show brought together a wide breadth of talent and heart-stopping virtual production to tell a powerful message. Fires took home Best Miniseries, Best Cinematography in Television, and Best Sound in Television. 

 

Fires won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Miniseries or Telefeature, awarded to Tony Ayres, Andrea Denholm, Liz Watts, Belinda Chayko, Elisa Argenzio, Tony Ayres Production and ABC
  • AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Television, awarded to Fires Episode 2: Everything’s Gone by Bonnie Elliott
  • AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television, awarded to Fires - Episode 2: Everything’s Gone by Emma Bortignon, Paul Pirola, Roger Van Wensveen, Brendan Croxon

​​

Fires was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama presented by Foxtel, nominated to Miranda Otto 
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama presented by Foxtel, nominated to Richard Roxburgh
  • AACTA Award for Best Direction in Drama or Comedy
  • AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television
  • AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television

 

The Dry / Supplied by Roadshow

 

THE DRY

Victorian-made feature The Dry captivated audiences on release, soaring to #1 at the Australian box office in early 2021. With the making-of bringing communities together, the gripping thriller was shot in Victoria’s rural Wimmera and Mallee regions; the film led by iconic Australian actor, Eric Bana. The Dry's overwhelming success could be felt through the night, with the film taking home Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Audience Choice Award for Favourite Actor and the Audience Choice Award for Favourite Film. 

 

The Dry won the following:

  • AACTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in Film, awarded to Rob Connolly, Harry Cripps
  • AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Film, awarded to Stefan Duscio
  • AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Actor, awarded to Eric Bana
  • AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Film

​​

The Dry was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Film
  • AACTA Award for Best Direction in Film
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in Film, nominated to Genevieve O'Reilly
  • AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in Film, nominated to Miranda Tapsell
  • AACTA Award For Best Costume Design in Film
  • AACTA Award For Best Editing in Film
  • AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Film
  • AACTA Award for Best Casting Presented by Casting Networks

 

Wentworth / Supplied by Fremantle and Foxtel 

 

WENTWORTH

Wentworth is an iconic award-winning Victorian production, with eight seasons and over 100 episodes under its belt. Saying goodbye to the smash-hit series this year with its' emotional final season, the impact it has had on Victoria's screen industry has not gone unnoticed. A true fan favourite for many Australians, it's no surprise the show took home the Audience Choice Award for Favourite Television Drama. 

 

Wentworth won the following:

  • AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Television Drama

​​

Wentworth was also nominated for:

  • AACTA Award for Best Drama Series
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama presented by Foxtel, nominated to Pamela Rabe
  • Audience Choice Award for Favourite Actor, nominated to Pamela Rabe

 

Strong Women / Supplied by Strong Women

 

STRONG WOMEN

Following some of Australia’s most powerful and resilient women competing in the sport of Strongman, Strong Women swung into action this year with awe-inspiring stories and grit. Sharing stories from all across Australia, the series proudly received the honour of Best Short Form Entertainment, awarded to Corinne Innes, Alexandra Gaulupeau, Ann Megalla, Patrick McCabe and Strong Women Documentary Pty. Ltd. in Association with AM Media

 

Strong Women won the following:

  •  AACTA Award for Best Short Form Entertainment, awarded to Corinne Innes, Alexandra Gaulupeau, Ann Megalla, Patrick McCabe and Strong Women Documentary Pty. Ltd. in Association with AM Media

​​

FREEMAN / Supplied by ABC / Photography by Daniel Boud

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

 

The following Film Victoria-supported projects and people were also nominated at the AACTA 2021 Awards:

 

  • Jack Irish — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Drama Series, AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama presented by Foxtel (Guy Pearce),  AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television and AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Television Drama
  • Brazen Hussies — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television
  • Rosehaven — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Narrative Comedy Series, AACTA Award for Best Comedy Performer (Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor), Audience Choice Award for Favourite Actor (Celia Pacquola)
  • Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries  — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television, AACTA Award for Best Hair and Makeup presented by HASK
  • FREEMAN — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in a Documentary, AACTA Award for Best Editing in a Documentary, AACTA Award for Best Original Score in a Documentary and AACTA Award for Best Sound in a Documentary
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — Nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects or Animation
  • High Ground — Awarded the following: AACTA Award For Best Costume Design in Film and AACTA Award for Best Casting Presented by Casting Networks. It was nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Film, AACTA Award for Best Direction in Film, AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in Film, AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in Film, AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in Film, AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay in Film, AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Film, AACTA Award For Best Editing in Film
  • Mortal Kombat — Awarded the following:  AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Film and AACTA Award for Best Sound in Film. It was nominated for: AACTA Award for Best Hair and Makeup presented by HASK, AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects or Animation, and AACTA Audience Choice Award for Favourite Film

​​