AWGIES night belongs to Kodie Bedford

After an imaginative Pilbara childhood, honed by scriptwriting, Kodie Bedford scores the Big Gold Stick for her first major theatre work.
Cursed! in performance

The Major Award, formerly the Gold Awgie, has an edge of history this year. As the Australian Writers’ Guild points out, the big kahuna has now been won by a playwright for the last three years. This time It was given to Kodie Bedford, based on her first major stage work, Cursed!

Read: Cursed! discussed in The Conversation

She has come to it sideways because she was raised in the Pilbara, is part of the Djaru Nation and is already an important voice in television. She has written for Dark Place, Robbie Hood, Squinters, Mystery Road and All My Friends are Racist, and has a lively interview on the Screen Australia website.

This is really moving, and is so clear.

Kodie Bedford and Stan Grant in conversation

Kodie Bedford is also part of the Cope St Collective.

The Feature Film Original Awgie pitted very different projects against each other. Nitram is the controversial Martin Bryant film which left audiences chilled but awed and full of respect. Falling for Figaro was shot in Scotland, a modest modest rom-com about a young funds manager played by Danielle Macdonald who campaigns to become an opera singer in the clutches of Joanna Lumley. Here Out West is a compendium film by writers of diverse backgrounds. The Furnace is an Australian western about an Afghan cameleer, by a first time writer/director with a visual arts background.

Nitram writer Shaun Grant went into the contest as the heavy hitter, with six Awgies or shared Awgies already. He won.

Read Film Review: Nitram is hard to pin down

The Feature Film Adaptation prize was a simple slugfest, as The Dry from Harry Cripps and producer/director Robert Connolly collied with Babyteeth nursed from play to screen by creator Rita Kalnejais. Either could have come through, but the box office favourite scored the spotlight in the end. Kalnejais already has the 2020 AACTA screenplay award for the film so she is probably not too disturbed about this Zoomed disappointment.

Read Film Review: Eric Bana shines in The Dry

The most prestigious television awards have very unhandy titles. The ‘Television – Series or Miniseries of more than 4 hours duration, including original and adapted works’ pitted Five Bedrooms against two episodes of The Great, Wakefield, and Wentworth.

Against fine local work, The Great really jumps out, propelled officially as an American show, with a very Austra-British sensibility with a pile of fabulous international actors pretending to be power-and-etiquette crazed loons around Russian empress Catherine the Great. Tony McNamara won for the episode he wrote himself.

Read TV Review: The Great is a lavish bureaucratic sitcom

The version of this award for Shows of Four Hours or Less was a tighter field as well, with New Gold Mountain facing A Sunburnt Christmas. The latter has a title redolent of bad American holiday films, and riffs on those emotions in.a very Australian way to capture the hearts of hardboiled critics. It is pushed along by the particularly bent approach of Christiaan Van Vuuren in his first feature gig as director. However, New Gold Mountain, heavily promoted by SBS, has the weight of history as it sells a Chinese story in a colonial Western.

Read TV Review: New Gold Mountain is a captivating achievement

Peter Cox, Yolanda Ramke, Benjamin Law, Greg Waters and Pip Karmel will have to work out how to divide up the Awgie amongst themselves. Perhaps it belongs in a museum of Chinese history.

AWGIE AWARDS LIST

MAJOR AWARD 

Cursed! – Kodie Bedford 

DAVID WILLIAMSON PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN WRITING FOR AUSTRALIAN THEATRE 

Claire Della and the Moon – Jamie Hornsby with Ellen Graham 

FEATURE FILM – ORIGINAL 

Nitram – Shaun Grant 

FEATURE FILM – ADAPTATION 

The Dry – Harry Cripps and Robert Connolly 

SHORT FILM 

The Last Elephant on Earth – Piri Eddy 

DOCUMENTARY – PUBLIC BROADCAST (INCLUDING VOD) OR EXHIBITION 

Ablaze – Alec Morgan with Tiriki Onus 

DOCUMENTARY – COMMUNITY, EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING (OR OTHERWISE COMMISSIONED TO A SPECIFIC BRIEF) 

Water Safety with Kangaroo Beach – Tim Bain 

TELEVISION – SERIAL 

Neighbours: Episode 8367 – Peter Mattessi

TELEVISION – SERIES OR MINISERIES OF MORE THAN 4 HOURS DURATION, INCLUDING ORIGINAL AND ADAPTED WORKS 

The Great: Season 1, ‘The Beaver’s Nose’ – Tony McNamara 

TELEVISION – TELEMOVIE OR MINISERIES OF 4 HOURS OR LESS DURATION, INCLUDING ORIGINAL AND ADAPTED WORKS 

New Gold Mountain – Peter Cox, Yolanda Ramke, Benjamin Law, Greg Waters and Pip Karmel 

CHILDREN’S TELEVISION – ‘P’ CLASSIFICATION (PRESCHOOL – UNDER 5 YEARS), ORIGINAL 

OR ADAPTED, ANIMATED OR PERFORMED 

Pocoyo: Season 4, ‘The Remote Control’ – Lina Foti 

CHILDREN’S TELEVISION – ‘C’ CLASSIFICATION (CHILDREN’S – 5–14 YEARS), ORIGINAL OR 

ADAPTED, ANIMATED OR PERFORMED 

The Gamers 2037: Season 1, ‘The Decision’ – Hannah Fitzpatrick 

COMEDY – SITUATION OR NARRATIVE 

Why Are You Like This: Season 1, ‘The Pressures of Late Capitalism’ – Mark Bonanno, Naomi 

Higgins and Humyara Mahbub 

COMEDY – SKETCH OR LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT 

The Feed: ‘Comedy Sketches 2020’ – Ben Jenkins, Alex Lee, Jenna Owen and Victoria Zerbst 

AUDIO 

CrossBread: ‘In The Beginning’ – Declan Fay with Chris Ryan and Megan Washington 

STAGE 

Cursed! – Kodie Bedford 

COMMUNITY AND YOUTH THEATRE 

Trackers – Donna Hughes 

THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES 

Claire Della and the Moon – Jamie Hornsby with Ellen Graham 

MUSIC THEATRE 

Notre-Dame – Alana Valentine 

ANIMATION 

Space Nova: Season 1, Seaweed Samba’ – John Armstrong 

WEB SERIES AND OTHER NON-BROADCAST/NON-‘SUBSCRIPTION VIDEO ON DEMAND’ TV SHORT WORKS 

Ding Dong I’m Gay: Season 1, Easier Said Than Cum’ – Tim Spencer and Zoe Norton Lodge 

The Tailings: Season 1, Episode 5 and Episode 6 – Caitlin Richardson 

RICHARD LANE AWARD For Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Australian Writers’ Guild 

Jacqueline Elaine 

DOROTHY CRAWFORD AWARD For Outstanding Contribution to the Profession and the Industry 

Wesley Enoch 

FRED PARSONS AWARD For Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy 

Tim Minchin

AUSTRALIAN WRITERS’ GUILD LIFE MEMBERSHIP 

Rob George 

AUSTRALIAN WRITERS’ GUILD LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 

Roger Simpson 

The whole event is available on YouTube:

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.