Who will win? Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis among ‘world-class’ nominees at 2022 AACTA awards

Austin Butler won the hearts of Hollywood following his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Luhrmann's classic biopic.

Austin Butler won the hearts of Hollywood following his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Luhrmann's classic biopic. Photo: IMDB, Unsplash and TND

Australian television and radio veteran Amanda Keller describes her hosting gig for this year’s prestigious Australian entertainment industry awards ceremony as being like a “volunteer tour guide”.

After what has been a massive year for the stars – in front of and behind the camera – the 2022 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards will kick off with a red carpet on Wednesday afternoon at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

Touching down on Monday was actress Rebel Wilson, who has made two movies this year (and is in pre-production for another two), travelled the world, found her princess and expanded her family with the birth of daughter Royce by surrogate.

Joining her on the red carpet will be Guy Pearce, Erik Thomson, Claudia Karvan, Madga Szubanski and Sigrid Thornton who will present alongside the young and talented Coco Jack Gillies (Ruby’s Choice) and Chloe Hayden in AACTA nominated shows.

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth is being honoured for his work championing the Australian film industry.

Thor action superhero and star of real-life Limitless docu-series, Chris Hemsworth is also turning up. The famous Byron Bay resident is set to receive AACTA’s Trailblazer Award from Russell Crowe, being honoured for “championing” the local film industry, creating jobs and attracting filmmakers to the region.

“The career I have enjoyed up until now has been so rewarding and I don’t take for granted the start the Australian screen industry gave me. I’ll do whatever I can to champion our incredible crews and creatives to the rest of the world and encourage big productions to head Down Under,” he said, ahead of receiving the accolade.

International A-listers Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, both nominated for best actor awards for George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing won’t be flying Down Under for the big night (according to AACTA’s official guest list), but will no doubt accept via video if either win.

Famous for last year’s politically-charged opening speech, AACTA president and star of his recently released Poker Face (made during intense COVID-era lockdowns in NSW), Russell Crowe will no doubt fire up the crowd.

“As artists, you have the licence to overthrow empires. To hold mirrors to hypocrisy. To shine lights into dark corners and bring humanity into political discourse in a way that other professions simply can’t,” he said, at last year’s awards night.

“Respect that. Use your voice. So, as I was saying, if you do win, by all means, share your joy, make your thank yous, take your moment … efficiently,” said Crowe, who is keeping busy with another eight movie projects underway.

Without a doubt, Keller will use her entire tour guide skill set.

“I guess I’m a volunteer tour guide, my flag on a stick held aloft to take everyone through the sights, sounds and smells of the AACTA Awards.

“Looking at the calibre of nominees and guests, I think I will be inhaling the intoxicating and sweet smell of success,” says the comedian and co-host of the Ten network’s long-running (and now rested) lifestyle show, The Living Room.

Joined by Rove McManus on stage, AFI AACTA chief executive Damian Trewhella said: “We are very excited for the inimitable Amanda Keller to be the host of this year’s AACTA Awards.

“Amanda’s talents span across many mediums, and she is an undeniable force within the industry of screen and entertainment.”

Elvis and Mystery Road: Origin lead nominations

The AACTAs (formerly the AFI Awards) have been around since 1958 and have grown to become a world-class marker of screen excellence alongside the Oscars and the British film awards, the BAFTAs.

The peer-assessed AACTA Awards are the only Australian industry body awards to honour practitioners across all crafts and industry sectors, including feature film, documentary, short film, television, online, visual effects and animation.

All up, there are 55 awards split across two major ceremonies in Sydney (the industry awards were held on December 5).

Director Baz Luhrmann’s epic biopic Elvis leads the charge for the film category, clocking up 15 nominations.

It is up against five others for best film including: Three Thousand Years of Longing, Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, The Stranger (a crime thriller), an anthology film Here Out West and horror comedy, Sissy.

Prequel series from the ABC, Mystery Road: Origin dominates the television award categories, also with 15 nominations including all acting awards.

Foxtel television dramas Love Me — starring Hugo Weaving and Bob Morley — and The Twelve each received 10 nominations.

Netflix’s Australian series Heartbreak High also got a stack of nominations, having rapidly become the No.6 most-watched TV show globally on the streaming giant, racking up 18.2 million hours viewed in just one week when it launched a few months ago.

On Monday, 31 awards were presented by Leah Purcell and Jack Thompson in a nod to the industry across film, television, documentary, short film and digital.

Mystery Road: Origin picked up four awards (including best director),  Bluey won Best Children’s Program for the fourth year, and River won for best documentary, following the AACTA-award-winning success of the prequel Mountain.

Elvis was the big winner of the day, picking up seven awards, while the 2022 Longford Lyell Award recipient was Catherine Martin, who won the best costume design in film and best production design in film alongside her talented team.

‘All shook up’: Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis was a big winner at the AACTAs. Photo: Getty

Luhrmann took to Instagram after the event to share the full list of winners so far of his epic hit filmed in Queensland, congratulating all seven winners, saying they were “all shook up”.

Ms Martin is on the guest list, and will be honoured for her outstanding career during Wednesday’s main broadcast ceremony.

The Hemsworths will be out in force, with Luke, who starred in Byron Bay coming-of-age surf flick Bosch and Rockit earlier this year, joining his brother on the red carpet.

Reality television is repped by Hamish Blake (Lego Masters), Dr Chris Brown (I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here), the delightful MasterChef trio and Sonia Kruger (Big Brother, The Voice).

Other confirmed guests for Wednesday’s star-studded line-up include Olivia DeJonge,  Miranda Tapsell, Elsa Pataky, Natalie Imbruglia, Gracie Otto and Charlie Pickering.

Read the full list of winners and nominees here:

“What a spectacular year of Australian screen excellence. Australia has produced some absolutely outstanding work, which has captivated audiences locally and in mind-boggling numbers abroad,” says producer Craig Campbell.

“We can’t wait to celebrate and recognise these achievements on Wednesday night.”

The AACTAs will be broadcast on 10, part of Paramount ANZ, at 7.30pm, encored on Fox Docos on December 10 at 7:30pm and available to stream on demand via Foxtel, Binge and AACTA TV

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