AACTA Industry Awards Winners 2021

The first batch of AACTA winners includes editing, sound and cinematography. Composer Caitlin Yeo won for two scores, and Dylan River won for cinematography in The Beach.
AACTA Winners 2021

The AACTA Industry Awards were announced last night, presented by Foxtel Group, in a low key virtual ceremony hosted by comedian Claire Hooper. Honouring the work of Australia’s screen craft practitioners, 31 awards were revealed, with more to come on Wednesday night at the flashy televised Sydney Opera House ceremony, complete with red carpet.

SBS’s New Gold Mountain and the ABC’s The Newsreader and Fires were the biggest winners of the Industry Awards, taking home half the categories.

For The Newsreader, Emma Freeman won Best Directing in TV Drama or Comedy, while Melinda Doring won Best Production Design. For Fires, Bonnie Elliott won Best Cinematography in TV, and Emma Bortignon, Paul Pirola, Roger Van Wensveen and Brendan Croxon won Best Sound in TV. For New Gold Mountain, Cappi Ireland won Best Costume Design, while Caitlin Yeo won Best Original Television Score. (Yeo also won Best Original Score in a Documentary for Playing with Sharks.)

Read: Australian Director’s Guild Awards 2021 Winners Announced

Bluey was once again crowned Best Children’s Program, while Fisk starring Kitty Flanagan won Best Narrative Comedy Series and Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas won Best Stand-Up Special.

The first film awards were also presented, with The Dry, Nitram and High Ground all receiving two awards each. For The Dry, Robert Connolly and Harry Crips won Best Adapted Screenplay, and Stefan Duscio won Best Cinematography in film. For Nitram, Nick Fenton won Best Editing, while Shaun Grant won the original screenplay award. And for High Ground, Erin Roche won Best Costume Design, and Anousha Zarkesh won the Casting award.

Queer romance film Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) directed by Monica Zanetti took out Best Indie Film, while SBS’s The Tailings written by Caitlin Richardson and directed by Stevie Cruz-Martin, won Best Short Form Drama.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said: ‘On behalf of the Australian Academy, I congratulate all of the AACTA Award nominees and winners recognised at the AACTA Industry Awards ceremony this evening. We are proud to be an organisation that can recognise the outstanding achievement of screen practitioners behind the best films, television productions and online content.’

The remainder of this year’s Award winners will be announced at the 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group Ceremony on Wednesday 8 December at The Sydney Opera House. The Ceremony will be broadcast on Channel 10 at 7:30pm, and encored in the days following on Fox Arena on Foxtel, Binge, and AACTA TV.

TELEVISION winners are

  • Children’s Program: Bluey – Charlie Aspinwall, Joe Brumm, Daley Pearson, Sam Moor – Ludo Studio (ABC)
  • Cinematography in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Bonnie Elliott
  • Costume Design in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Cappi Ireland
  • Direction in Drama or Comedy: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Emma Freeman
  • Direction in Non-Fiction Television: Love on the Spectrum (Episode 4) – Cian O’Clery
  • Documentary or Factual Program: Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds – Debbie Cuell, Bethan Arwel-Lewis – Endemol Shine Australia (ABC)
  • Editing in Television: Clickbait (Episode 1: Five Million Hits) – Rodrigo Balart
  • Narrative Comedy Series: Fisk – Vincent Sheehan – Porchlight Films (ABC)
  • Production Design in Television: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Melinda Doring
  • Original Score in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Caitlin Yeo
  • Sound in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Emma Bortignon, Paul Pirola, Roger Van Wensveen, Brendan Croxon
  • Stand-Up Special: Hannah Gadsby – Douglas – Hannah Gadsby, Kevin Whyte, Kathleen McCarthy, John Irwin – Irwin Entertainment & Token Events (Netflix)


  • Adapted Screenplay in Film: The Dry – Rob Connolly, Harry Cripps
  • Cinematography in Film: The Dry – Stefan Duscio
  • Best Costume Design in Film: High Ground – Erin Roche
  • Editing in Film: Nitram – Nick Fenton
  • Indie Film: Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) – Monica Zanetti (Dir.), MahVeen Shahraki, Patrick James – Brazen Lot formerly Cobbstar Productions
  • Original Screenplay in Film: Nitram – Shaun Grant
  • Production Design in Film: Mortal Kombat – Naaman Marshall
  • Original Score in Film: June Again – Christopher Gordon
  • Sound in Film: Mortal Kombat – Robert McKenzie, James Ashton, Des Kenneally, Adrian Medhurst, Jed Dodge, Phil Heywood


  • Cinematography in a Documentary: The Beach (Episode 1: Too Mad Too Shy) – Dylan River
  • Editing in a Documentary: My Name is Gulpilil – Tania M. Nehme
  • Original Score in a Documentary: Playing With Sharks – Caitlin Yeo
  • Sound in a Documentary: Life in Colour with David Attenborough (Episode 1: Seeing in Colour) – Wayne Pashley


  • Short Form Comedy Presented by Facebook: All My Friends Are Racist – Enoch Mailangi, Kodie Bedford, Bjorn Stewart, Liliana Munoz – Maximo Entertainment & Hoodlum Entertainment
  • Short Form Drama: The Tailings – Good Lark Pty Ltd, Liz Doran, Richard Kelly, Stephen Thomas, Stevie Cruz-Martin, Caitlin Richardson – The Two Jons & Roar Film
  • Short Form Entertainment: Strong Women – Corinne Innes, Alexandra Gaulupeau, Ann Megalla, Patrick McCabe – Strong Women Documentary Pty. Ltd. & AM Media


  • Casting Presented by Casting Networks: High Ground – Anousha Zarkesh
  • Hair and Makeup presented by HASK: Australian Gangster – Sheldon Wade, Helen Magelaki, Mariel McClorey, Donna Kennedy
  • Visual Effects or Animation: Peter Rabbit 2 – Will Reichelt, Simon Pickard, Simon Whiteley, Fiona Chilton, Jason Bath, Matt Middleton – Animal Logic

Rochelle Siemienowicz is a journalist for Screenhub. She is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram