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Australian films score Oscars nod

Film & TV

Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman are among a large contingent of Australians celebrating after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for this year’s Oscars.

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The musical La La Land is the film to beat, with a record 14 nominations tying it with all-time leaders Titanic and All About Eve, but a year after George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road stormed through the Oscars with a record haul of trophies, Australia is hoping for another bonanza with Lion and Hacksaw Ridge each netting six nods.

“What could be more exciting than listening to the nominations being announced while holding my newborn son,” Gibson said after his war drama Hacksaw Ridge, filmed in Sydney and rural NSW, earned six nominations on Tuesday.

Gibson, 60, and girlfriend of two years Rosalind Ross, welcomed Lars Gerard Gibson on Friday in Los Angeles. He is Gibson’s ninth child.

Gibson’s Oscar nomination for best director appeared unlikely, with the category loaded with talent and speculation the Academy might continue to ignore Gibson, who has been on the outer in Hollywood since he was accused of anti-Semitic, sexist and racist slurs and domestic abuse incidents from more than a decade ago.

But, Gibson will compete against La La Land‘s director Damien Chazelle, Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve, Manchester by the Sea‘s Kenneth Lonergan and Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins for one of the major awards.

Some heavyweight directors missed out, including Australian Garth Davis for Lion and Martin Scorsese for Silence, Denzel Washington for Fences and Clint Eastwood for Sully.

Kidman, nominated in the supporting actress category for Lion, has become a regular at the Oscars with a win in 2003 for The Hours and nominations in 2011 for Rabbit Hole and 2002 for the Baz Luhrmann-directed Moulin Rouge.

Kidman is considered an outsider, with Fences‘ Viola Davis the favourite to win best supporting actress.

“Thanks to Garth Davis for putting his heart and soul into all of us. Woo-hoo!” Kidman said.

Kidman’s Lion British co-star Dev Patel was nominated in the supporting actor race.

Lion‘s Australian producers, Emile Sherman and Angie Fielder, will collect Oscars if their film wins best picture, although La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight are the frontrunners in the nine film field.

Fielder, who was in Los Angeles on Tuesday, was so nervous she decided not to watch the nomination ceremony live on TV at 5.30am LA time.

“I couldn’t watch it,” she told AAP.

“I needed to just wake up and then read something really quickly rather than watching it because our film starts with L so it would take a long time for them to get to it.”

Fielder logged on and was ecstatic to find Lion and all of the other film’s nominees’ names, including Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser and screenwriter Luke Davies, although she was disappointed Davis was left out.

“It’s definitely bittersweet without that nomination for Garth,” she said.

“He certainly deserves it and I think every nomination for the film is a nomination for him.”

Tanna, a tiny-budget film made by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler with villagers from Vanuatu’s Yakel tribe, upset some of Europe’s best films to pick up a foreign language film nod for Australia.

Perhaps the biggest snub for Australia was for Joel Edgerton, who was considered a chance for best actor, for his performance in Loving.

Hacksaw Ridge‘s English star Andrew Garfield did get a best actor nod alongside Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) and Denzel Washington (Fences).

As expected, Hacksaw Ridge‘s Australian crew members scooped up plenty of nominations.

Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace received invites for sound mixing.

The Oscars ceremony will be a big one for Wright and Mackenzie, as they were also nominated for sound editing, while Kiwi editor John Gilbert was also nominated Hacksaw Ridge.

Oscar winners will be announced at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on February 26.


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