Lantana confirmed its critical worth at Australia's annual IF Awards, taking home nearly every major award including best film for producer Jan Chapman, best director for Ray Lawrence, best script for Andrew Bovell and best actor for Anthony LaPaglia. The ensemble cast of Barbara Hershey, Kerry Armstrong, Leah Purcell, Rachael Blake and Daniela Farinacci also beat the internationally acclaimed Nicole Kidman, who was in the audience, to the best actress prize.
But the film with the second largest number of nominations, Moulin Rouge, didn't go home empty handed. Baz Luhrmann, the director, co-writer and one of the producers, accepted the box office achievement award, and cinematographer Don McAlpine was one of the recipients of three craft awards. Moulin Rouge broke the record for the highest opening week for an Australian film when it was released in May and went on to gross over A$27m. It only just fell short of getting into the list of top 10 earners of all time of any nationality.
Documentary and upcoming talent featured highly in the three-year-old awards. The best rising talent award went to short filmmaker Andrew Lancaster and Husein Alicajic's Divine Shadows was voted best unproduced script. Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson won the best documentary award for their latest collaboration Facing The Music as well as the living legend award.
Some of the loudest applause was for Sophie McNeill, who was presented with the independent spirit award for Awaiting Freedom, a documentary about East Timor's medical needs.