The Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) tonight in Sydney presented its annual best Australian film award to The Black Balloon and voted the film's director, Elissa Down, the best in her category.
Slumdog Millionaire topped the category for English-language foreign films and The Diving Bell And The Butterfly for foreign language films.
This is the last significant set of local awards for the 2008 batch of Australian films but unlike previous presentations, Down's family drama had a little more competition: differences in eligibility deadlines meant Baz Luhrmann's Australia was in contention for best film for the first time.
The Black Balloon won nevertheless, just as it did at the Australian Film Institute Awards in December.
Australia didn't go home empty-handed, however. Young indigenous actor Brandon Walters won the supporting actor category and Mandy Walker won for her cinematography. The film has done exceptional business at the local box office and will end up the second highest-grossing Australian film of all time, behind only Crocodile Dundee.
Unfinished Sky won the most awards, with four, including best adapted screenplay for Peter Duncan. The Black Balloon won three.
Veteran producer Richard Brennan was singled out for an award celebrating both is own work over the past nearly 40 years and his ongoing support of Australian film and Australian film culture.
The full list of award winners:
Best Film -- The Black Balloon, Producer Tristram Miall
Best Director -- Elissa Down, The Black Balloon
Best Actor -- William Mcinnes, Unfinished Sky
Best Actress -- Noni Hazlehurst, Bitter And Twisted
Best Actor (Supporting) -- Brandon Walters, Australia
Best Editor -- Suresh Ayyer, Unfinished Sky
Best Music -- Antony Partos, Unfinished Sky
Best Adapted Screenplay -- Peter Duncan, Unfinished Sky
Best Original Screenplay -- Matthew Dabner, Joel Edgerton, The Square
Best Cinematography -- Mandy Walker, Australia
Best Actress (Supporting) --Toni Collette, The Black Balloon
Best Festure Documentary -- Not Quite Hollywood, Director Mark Hartley
Best Documenatary Jury Prize - Bastardy, Director Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Producer Philippa Campey
Best Documentary Short -- Rare Chicken Rescue, Director Randall Wood. Honorable Mention, Spirit Stones, Director Allan Collins
Best Foreign Feature in English -- Slumdog Millionaire, Directors Danny Boyle, Lovleen Tandan
Best Foreign Language Feature -- The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, Director Julian Schnabel
Special Acknowledgement - Producer Richard Brennan