Joel Edgerton in David Michod's Animal Kingdom (top); Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish in Jane Campion's Bright Star (middle); Lincoln Lewis, Caitlin Stasey, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Phoebe Tonkin in Stuart Beattie's Tomorrow When the War Began (bottom)
Animal Kingdom, referred to by some as the Australian The Godfather, topped the Australian Film Institute's 2010 nominations announced today.
Featuring James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Jacki Weaver, Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton, and Laura Wheelwright, all of whom were nominated in the acting categories, David Michod's debut feature film about a dysfunctional Melbourne crime family received a total of 18 nods. (Jacki Weaver's nomination is her third overall, and her first since winning as Best Supporting Actress for Caddie in 1976.)
Jeremy Hartley Sims' World War I drama Beneath Hill 60 followed with 12 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, and a Best Actor nod for star Brendan Cowell.
Jane Campion's period romantic drama Bright Star, which last year was snubbed both at Cannes and at the BAFTAs/Oscars (it received only one nod for Best Costume Design in the UK/US), scored 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress (Abbie Cornish).
Directed by Stuart Beattie, the adaptation of John Marsden's bestselling novel Tomorrow When the War Began garnered eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (Beattie). Rachel Hurd-Wood plays one of several teenagers who must fend off a foreign army that has taken control of Australia.
Directed by Julie Bertuccelli, the French-Australian psychological family drama The Tree earned seven nominations, including Best Film and Best Director. The film stars Best Actress nominees Charlotte Gainsbourg and Morgana Davies as a girl who believes her recently deceased father lives in a fig tree next to the family house.
And finally, also with seven nominations including Best Film, Rachel Perkins' 1960s-set musical Bran Nue Dae, about a young aborigine (Rocky McKenzie) who takes the long road back home after fleeing from a strict religious school.
Of the six Best Film nominees, Tomorrow When the War Began and Bran Nue Dae were the only two without a matching Best Director nod.
Among the other AFI nominees are Clive Owen, up for Best Actor for The Boys Are Back; Kodi Smit-McPhee up for Best Supporting Actor for Matching Jack and for Best International Actor for The Road; and, in the international category, Mia Wasikowska for Alice in Wonderland,
Naomi Watts for Mother and Child, and Sam Worthington for Avatar.
The AFI Awards will be handed out in Melbourne on December 10 ("industry" awards) and 11 (top awards).