Mao’s Last Dancer, Tomorrow, When The War Began, Animal Kingdom and Beneath Hill 60 are competing for the title of best feature in the 2010 Inside Film (IF) Awards.

Some years there is a chasm between commercial and critical success but not this year: except for the war drama Beneath Hill 60, three of the four contenders are among Australia’s five biggest local box office hits of the last 12 months.

Mao’s Last Dancer, which grossed A$15.44m after it was released just over a year ago, and crime drama Animal Kingdom, which has taken A$4.9m since its June release, each earned seven nominations, which was more than any other films.

Action/adventure Tomorrow, When The War Began, which has sold A$12.65m worth of tickets since opening on Sept 2 and is still in cinemas, received five nominations.

The other two biggest recent earners in Australia are the musical Bran Nue Dae (A$7.637m) and comedy The Kings Of Mykonos: Wog Boy (A$4.9m). The latter was not named today but Bran Nue Dae scored four nominations including one for director Rachel Perkins.

The other nominees in the direction category are those whose films are in the best film category —Bruce Beresford (Mao’s), David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) and Jeremy Sims (Beneath Hill 60) — with the exception of Stuart Beattie. He is, however, named in the writing category alongside Michôd and Jan Sardi (Mao’s).

Four pairs of actors from four films were nominated in the acting categories: Joel Edgerton and Radha Mitchell playing husband and wife (The Waiting City), Jacki Weaver and Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) and also Joan Chen and Chi Cao playing mothers and sons (Mao’s Last Dancer), and Deniz Akdeniz and Caitlin Stasey playing friends (Tomorrow, When The War Began).

Period romance Bright Star was recognised in some craft categories and the teams behind two films made without government financing, Caught Inside and Little Sparrows, received nominations for the IF Award for independent spirit.

The nominees are:

Animal Kingdom
Beneath Hill 60
Mao’s Last Dancer
Tomorrow, When The War Began

Ben Mendelsohn – Animal Kingdom
Chi Cao – Mao’s Last Dancer
Deniz Akdeniz – Tomorrow, When The War Began
Joel Edgerto – The Waiting City

Caitlin Stasey – Tomorrow, When The War Began
Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom
Joan Chen – Mao’s Last Dancer
Radha Mitchell – The Waiting City

Animal Kingdom – David Michôd
Bran Nue Dae – Rachel Perkins
Beneath Hill 60 – Jeremy Hartley Sims
Mao’s Last Dancer – Bruce Beresford

Animal Kingdom – David Michôd
Mao’s Last Dancer – Jan Sardi
Tomorrow When The War Began – Stuart Beattie

Bran Nue Dae – Cezary Skubiszewski, Jimmy Chi and Kuckles
Mao’s Last Dancer – Christopher Gordon
Tomorrow When The War Began – Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil

Animal Kingdom – Sam Petty, Rob Mackenzie, Phillippe Decrausaz
Beneath Hill 60 – Robert Sullivan, Liam Egan, Mark Cornish, Tony Murtagh
Bright Star – John Dennison, Tony Vaccher, Craig Butters

Animal Kingdom – Luke Doolan
Bright Star – Alexandre De Franceschi
The Waiting City – Veronika Jenet

Beneath Hill 60 – Clayton Jauncey
Bran Nue Dae – Felicity Abbott
Bright Star – Janet Patterson

Bright Star – Greig Fraser
Mao’s Last Dancer – Peter James
The Waiting City – Denson Baker

Caught Inside
Lanfranchi’s Memorial Discotheque
Little Sparrows

Adrian Wills
Ariel Kleiman
Craig Boreham

Boxing For Palm Island
Lani’s Story
Strange Birds In Paradise