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With 12 nominations, Suburban Mayhem is a surprise omission from the Best Film category in this year’s AFI Awards – but then the film doesn’t open commercially until October 26 so the only public screenings have been at festivals, where the film was rated into a Best Film nominations in the If Awards – and it wasn’t eligible for this year’s film critics’ awards. Such are the vagaries of Australia’s weird awards systems, reports Andrew L. Urban.

Awards are a lottery, say some in the industry, where the visible recognition of excellence is sometimes arbitrary and always capricious, and Australia’s various film awards are no exception. Indeed, by presenting awards in November for films released in the 12 months ending sometime in September or October, the awards skew eligibility and relativity even further out.

Hence Suburban Mayhem is eligible for some but not all the film awards this year, due to varying cut off dates. And the general public won’t get a chance to see the film until immediately prior to the various award ceremonies. This only makes the public less engaged in the awards and so lessens their value.

To make matters worse, Suburban Mayhem is nominated for almost every category in the AFI Awards, except Best Film – and Best Actor, but that’s because there isn’t such a role in this film. It’s nobody’s fault but the system’s; and that doesn’t make it look any better. Awards would mean so much more if the movie going public had a good chance to see all the films in contention. The only way to do that is to synchronise awards with the calendar year, like the rest of the world does. And maybe recognise the incomparability of comedy and drama, by creating a new set of awards that doesn’t ape Hollywood’s 78 year old structure.

Still, the awards are meant to celebrate achievement, and this year’s nominated films (in various categories) are certainly worthy of celebration, each in their own way.

Incoming AFI CEO James Hewison said of the nominees; "There's no doubt 2006 has been a remarkable year of production in local film and TV. A year that we should all feel proud of: proud of the nominees of course, but also for ALL those working tremendously hard, with great skill and passion to make an imprint with audiences both here and internationally. There's also no doubt that this love affair will continue
beyond this year."

The L'Oréal Paris 2006 AFI Awards Nominees

L'Oréal Paris AFI Award for Best Film
Candy - Margaret Fink & Emile Sherman
Jindabyne - April Films & Catherine Jarman
Kenny - Clayton Jacobson & Rohan Timlock
Ten Canoes - Julie Ryan & Rolf de Heer

AFI Award for Best Direction
Jindabyne - Ray Lawrence
Kenny - Clayton Jacobson
Suburban Mayhem - Paul Goldman
Ten Canoes - Rolf de Heer & Peter Djigirr

AFI Award for Best Original Screenplay
2:37 - Murali K. Thalluri
Kenny - Shane Jacobson & Clayton Jacobson
Suburban Mayhem - Alice Bell
Ten Canoes - Rolf de Heer

AFI Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
The Book of Revelation - Ana Kokkinos & Andrew Bovell
Candy - Luke Davies & Neil Armfield
Jindabyne - Beatrix Christian
Last Train to Freo - Reg Cribb

AFI Award for Best Cinematography

Jindabyne - David Williamson
Macbeth - Will Gibson
Suburban Mayhem - Robert Humphreys ACS
Ten Canoes - Ian Jones ACS

AFI Award for Best Editing

Candy - Dany Cooper ASE
Kenny - Clayton Jacobson & Sean Lander
Suburban Mayhem - Stephen Evans
Ten Canoes - Tania Nehme

AFI Award for Best Sound

Jindabyne - Andrew Plain, Peter Grace, Nada Mikis, Peter Miller, Linda
Murdoch & Robert Sullivan
Macbeth - Frank Lipson & John Wilkinson
Suburban Mayhem - Liam Egan, Phil Judd & Steven Jackson-Vaughan
Ten Canoes - James Currie, Tom Heuzenroeder, Michael Bakaloff & Rory

AFI Award for Best Original Music Score
The Book of Revelation - Cezary Skubiszewski
Jindabyne - Paul Kelly & Dan Luscombe
Macbeth - John Clifford White
Suburban Mayhem - Mick Harvey

AFI Award for Best Production Design
Candy - Robert Cousins
Macbeth - David McKay
Suburban Mayhem - Nell Hanson
Ten Canoes - Beverley Freeman

AFI Award for Best Costume Design
The Book of Revelation - Anna Borghesi
Kokoda - Phill Eagles
Macbeth - Jane Johnston
Suburban Mayhem - Melinda Doring

AFI Award for Best Lead Actor
Heath Ledger - Candy
Gabriel Byrne - Jindabyne
Shane Jacobson - Kenny
Steve Le Marquand - Last Train to Freo

AFI Award for Best Lead Actress
Teresa Palmer - 2:37
Abbie Cornish - Candy
Laura Linney - Jindabyne
Emily Barclay - Suburban Mayhem

AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor
Geoffrey Rush - Candy
Ronald Jacobson - Kenny
Tom Budge - Last Train to Freo
Anthony Hayes - Suburban Mayhem

AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress
Noni Hazlehurst - Candy
Susie Porter - The Caterpillar Wish
Deborra-lee Furness - Jindabyne
Genevieve Lemon - Suburban Mayhem

L'Oréal Paris AFI Young Actor Award
Frank Sweet - 2:37
Marny Kennedy - Mortified (Nine Network)
Christian Byers - Opal Dream
Mia Wasikowska - Suburban Mayhem

AFI Visual Effects Award

Hunt Angels - Rose Draper & Mike Seymour
Kokoda - Phil Stuart-Jones
Unfolding Florence - The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst - Simon
Rippingale, Tim Richter & Nina Gibbs
Wicked Science Series 2, Ep. 1 - Barry Lanfranchi, James Maclachlan &
Vanessa Magyan (Network Ten)

AFI Award for Best Documentary
Hunt Angels - Sue Maslin
Raul the Terrible - Carlos Alperin
Vietnam Nurses - Beth Frey & Lizzette Atkins
Welcome 2 My Deaf World - Sally Ingleton

AFI Award for Best Direction in a Documentary
Hunt Angels - Alec Morgan
Raul the Terrible - David Bradbury
Unfolding Florence - The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst - Gillian
Vietnam Nurses - Polly Watkins

AFI Award for Best Cinematography in a Documentary
He's Coming South - Steve Williams
Hunt Angels - Jackie Farkas
Penicillin: The Magic Bullet - Jaems Grant
Transit - Anthony Davison

AFI Award for Best Editing in a Documentary
The Archive Project - Uri Mizrahi
The Black Road - Lawrie Silvestrin
Raul the Terrible - Stewart Young ASE
Vietnam Nurses - Tony Stevens

AFI Award for Best Sound in a Documentary
The Archive Project - Martin Friedel, Andrew Plain, Keith Thomas & Emma
Rampage - Nick Meyers
Unfolding Florence - The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst - Annie Breslin,
Gethin Creagh, Paul Finlay & Paul Grabowsky
Vietnam Nurses - Livia Ruzic, Mark Tarpey, Keith Thomas & John Willsteed

AFI Award for Best Short Animation

The Astronomer - Kate McCartney
Carnivore Reflux - Eddie White & James Calvert
Gargoyle - Michael Cusack
The Safe House - Lee Whitmore

AFI Award for Best Short Fiction Film
The 9:13 - Matthew Phipps
The Desert - Glendyn Ivin
Small Boxes - Rene Hernandez
Stranded - Stuart McDonald

AFI Award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film
A Natural Talent - Louise Fox
Paper and Sand - Matt Rubinstein & Ian Kennedy Williams
The Safe House - Lee Whitmore
Stranded - Kathleen O'Brien

AFI Award for Outstanding Achievement in Short Film Screen Craft
Adam Arkapaw (Cinematography) - End of Town
JoAnne Bouzianis-Sellick & Greg Sweeney (Production Design) - Gargoyle
Skye Wansey (Acting) - A Natural Talent
Emma Lung (Acting) - Stranded

L'Oréal Paris 2006 AFI Awards Ticketing: Tickets to the L'Oréal Paris 2006 AFI Awards, including the Industry Awards, Members' Lounge and Awards Dinner, will go on sale exclusively to AFI Members from 3 November. Tickets will be available to the general public from 20 November. Tickets can be purchased by calling Undertow Media on 03 9428 6600. Tickets for the Industry Awards on December 6 are $80; tickets for the awards and afterparty on December 7 are $150; and tickets for the dinner, awards and after party are $500 each.

Published October 19, 2006

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