Japanese Story walked away with practically all the honours at the 45th AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards tonight (Nov 21), including best film.
It is the third major Australian prize for Japanese Story in less than a month: on Nov 12 it won at the IF Awards and on Oct 31 it was named best film at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.
Accepting the biggest award of the night were producers Sue Maslin, Sue Brooks and Alison Tilson. Brooks also won the category for directing and Tilson the category for best original script. Two days earlier she won the A$10,000 Harper's Bazaar/AFI Screenwriting Prize.
The film also won best actress for Toni Collette, as well as the best music, cinematography, sound and editing categories.
The only categories where anything else got a look in was best original script, won by The Rage In Placid Lake, best actor, for David Wenham in Gettin' Square, best supporting actors, won by Sacher Horler for Travelling Light and David Ngoombujarra for Black And White, and best production design for Stephen Evans-Jones for Ned Kelly.
The foreign film award went to Lord Of The Ring: The Two Towers, produced by Peter Jackson, Barrie M Osborne and Fran Walsh. The Longford Lifetime Achievement Award went to comedy television producer Ted Robinson.
The Global Achievement Award this year went to character actor Geoffrey Rush and the Kennedy Miller Award for outstanding creative enterprise also went to an Australia who is big on the world stage: Dion Beebe, cinematographer on such films as Road To Perdition, Chicago and In The Cut. It was the first time in its 20-year history that the Kennedy Miller Award has gone to a cinematographer.
Probably 50% of the winners made a speech that referred to how the Australian Government plans to trade away the country's identity to get a better deal for agriculture and other industries in the free trade agreement negotiations with the US.
Said Collette: "I beg you, (Prime Minister) Mr Howard, to see straight and not jeopardise our cultural future."
Said Brooks: "We cannot trade our ability to tell our stories for a few lamb chops. I am sorry dad but we can't."