AACTA film nominations 2019 – Nightingale surprises

With The Nightingale firmly in the running, the AACTA Awards could defy popular taste and honour grim realities. That would be a break with recent trends.

The members have voted and the AACTA longlist has been culled to the final nominations in the film category.

Read more: AACTA/AFI 2019: Decisions to make your head explode

Topping the nominations list is The Nightingale which missed out only on a chance at Best Original Score. Its 15 categories beat Hotel Mumbai and The King which scored 13 spots in the finals. Judy and Punch came in with nine. Top End Wedding has five while Ride Like a Girl and Danger Close both have four. 

Of the seven in this list, only two are set in the present day. No film from the sub $2m list has a single nomination in any other category. While there are three heavily nominated features made by first time directors, the craft awards are dominated by very experienced people. A decent budget really does count and producers know where to put their money. 

The Nightingale is doing very well despite the fact that it did not triumph at the box office, faced a small backlash about the sexual violence, travelled confronting historical terrain and was driven by its artistic rather than narrative intention. The sector refused to flinch. 

Feature films 

Hotel Mumbai
Basil Iwanyk, Gary Hamilton, Julie Ryan, Jomon Thomas
Hotel Mumbai Double Guess Productions
Judy & Punch

Michele Bennett, Nash Edgerton, Danny Gabai
Vice Media LLC, Blue-Tongue Films, Pariah Productions

The King

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Liz Watts, David Michôd, Joel Edgerton
Plan B Entertainment, Porchlight Films, A Yoki Inc, Blue-Tongue Films

The Nightingale

Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky, Jennifer Kent
Causeway Films, Made Up Stories

Ride Like A Girl

Richard Keddie, Rachel Griffiths, Susie Montague
The Film Company, Magdalene Media

Top End Wedding

Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne, Kate Croser
Goalpost Pictures

Who missed out?

Angel of Mine, Animals, Danger Close, Escape and Evasion, Hearts and Bones, I am Mother, The Naked Wanderer, Nektronic, Palm Beach, Undertow. 

Independent low budget features – sub $2m.

Acute Misfortune

Thomas M Wright, Virginia Kay, Jamie Houge, Liz Kearney
Arenamedia, Plot Media, Blackheath Films

Book Week

Heath Davis, Joanne Weatherstone
Crash House Productions


Rodd Rathjen, Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Rita Walsh
Causeway Films

Emu Runner

Imogen Thomas, Victor Evatt, Antonia Barnard, John Fink
Emu Runner Film Pty Ltd

Sequin in a Blue Room

Samuel Van Grinsven, Sophie Hattch, Linus Gibson

Who missed out?

Bilched, Celeste, Chocolate Oyster, The Combination – Redemption, Juvenile Delinquents, The Locusts, Outback, Pimped, Promised, Reflections in the Dust, Slam, Suburban Wildllife.

Best Director

Anthony Maras – Hotel Mumbai

Mirrah Foulkes – Judy & Punch

David Michôd – The King

Jennifer Kent – The Nightingale

Who Missed Out

We can argue this out because contenders could be scattered across the whole long list. But Top End Wedding and Ride Like a Girl were culled from the Best Film list. 

Best Lead Actor

Timothée Chalamet – The King; 
 Baykali Ganambarr – The Nightingale
Damon Herriman – Judy & Punch
Dev Patel – Hotel Mumbai
Hugo Weaving – Hearts and Bones

Best Lead Actress

Nazanin Boniadi – Hotel Mumbai
Aisling Franciosi – The Nightingale
Teresa Palmer – Ride Like A Girl
Miranda Tapsell – Top End Wedding
Mia Wasikowska – Judy & Punch

Best Supporting Actor

Joel Edgerton – The King

Damon Herriman – The Nightingale

Andrew Luri – Hearts and Bones

Ben Mendelsohn – The King

Michael Sheasby – The Nightingale

Best Supporting Actress

Tilda Cobham-Hervey – Hotel Mumbai

Magnolia Maymuru – The Nightingale

Hilary Swank – I Am Mother

Bolude Watson – Hearts and Bones

Ursula Yovich – Top End Wedding

Best Screenplay

Hotel Mumbai – John Collee, Anthony Maras

Judy & Punch – Mirrah Foulkes

The King – David Michod, Joel Edgerton

The Nightingale – Jennifer Kent

Best Cinematography

Ben Nottt, Danger Close; Nick Remy Matthews, Hotel Mumbai; Adam Arkapaw: The King; Radek Ladczuk – The Nightingale

Best Editing

Peter McNulty, Anthony Maras – Hotel Mumbai; Dany Cooper – Judy and Punch; Peter Sciberras – The King; Simon Njoo – The Nightingale.

Best Sound

Liam Egan – Danger Close; Sam Petty, Pete Smith, Nakul Kamte, James Currie, Petar Ristic – Hotel Mumbai; Robert Mackenzie, Sam Petty, Gareth John, Leah Katz, Mario Vacarro, Tara Webb – The King; Robert Mackenzie, Dean Ryan, Leah Katz, Pete Smith – The Nightingale.

Best Original Score

Caitlin Yeo – Danger Close; Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka) – Hotel Mumbai; François Tétaz – Judy and Punch; David Hirschfelder – Ride Like a Girl.

Best Production Design

Steven Jones-Evans – Hotel Mumbai; Jo Ford – Judy and Punch; Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton – The King; Alex Holmes – The Nightingale.

Best Costume Design

Anna Borghesi – Hotel Mumbai; Edie Kurzer – Judy and Punch; Jane Petrie – The King; Margot Wilson – The Nightingale.

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.