Stolevski’s Of An Age dominates Australian Film Critics Association Awards

AFCA's annual film awards include important recognition of the work of film critics – with ScreenHub's Stephen A Russell awarded twice this year.

The Australian Film Critics Association (AFCA) has announced the winners of its annual awards for film, and for film criticism, including two awards for screen journalist and regular ScreenHub critic, Stephen A Russell.

Held in Melbourne at the Backlot Cinema on Saturday 23 March, the 2023 AFCA Awards were dominated by Goran Stolevski’s Of An Age, with the film winning Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Read: Review: Of An Age is a tender and romantic Melburnian treat

Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy and Ivan Sen’s Limbo both won two awards apiece, and Laurence Billiet and Rachael Antony’s Bob Brown documentary The Giants, won the Australian documentary category.

AFCA is a professional association dedicated to championing the voices of Australian film critics, reviewers, and journalists engaged in the world of cinema. The annual awards recognise categories in Australian and international film, with the Film Awards determined by a two-step voting process.

Significantly, AFCA also gives out four cash prizes for film criticism and film writing through the AFCA Writing and Broadcast awards. These are intended to ‘raise the level of film culture in Australia by recognising excellence in the work of Australian film critics and commentators, and to broaden public awareness of film as an art form and cultural artifact.’

This year, two of AFCA’s Writing and Broadcast Awards were won by Stephen A Russell, who writes regularly for ScreenHub, with his review of Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers winning the award for best review of an individual non-Australian film.

Russell also won the Margaret Pomeranz Award award for a short form review of an Australian film for his writing on Ivan Sen’s Limbo.

Read: Stephen A Russell: Ivan Sen on sitting in silence with new feature, Limbo

Accepting the awards, Russell used the opportunity to advocate for support of good critical writing, saying:

‘Critics and writers need your help in dark days of eternal flux for the industry. Please do seek out good writing, help share it, leave a nice comment or even tussle respectfully. But engage! Or we might lose it. Same goes for Australian films and smaller internationals.’

The Jim Murphy New Media Award Award was won by Tansy Gardam for the episode The Creator on the podcast Going Rogue.

The Ivan Hutchinson Award for best long-form review of an Australian film, which comes with a $500 prize, was won by Gabrielle O’Brien for Australia Daze, published by Metro Magazine.

The writing awards were judged by Kate Separovich, Gus Berger, Fiona Villella, Simon Miraudo, and Richard Sowada.

Nominees and Winners of the 2023 AFCA Awards

Best Film

  • Limbo – Rachel Higgins, David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin
  • Of an Age – Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings – winner!
  • Shayda – Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari
  • The Royal Hotel – Liz Watts, Emile Sherman, Kath Shelper
  • Talk To Me – Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton

Best Director

  • Ivan Sen – Limbo
  • Goran Stolevski – Of an Age – winner!
  • Kitty Green – The Royal Hotel
  • Noora Niasari – Shayda
  • Danny and Michael Philippou – Talk to Me

Best Actor

  • Simon Baker – Limbo – winner!
  • Aswan Reid – The New Boy
  • Elias Anton – Of an Age
  • Thom Green – Of an Age
  • Osamah Sami – Shayda

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett – The New Boy
  • Julia Garner – The Royal Hotel
  • Zar Amir Ebrahimi – Shayda
  • Shantae Barnes-Cowan – Sweet As
  • Sophie Wilde – Talk to Me – winner!

Best Supporting Actor

  • Rob Collins – Limbo – winner!
  • Wayne Blair – The New Boy
  • Toby Wallace – The Royal Hotel
  • Hugo Weaving – The Royal Hotel
  • Joe Bird – Talk to Me

Best Supporting Actress

  • Natasha Wanganeen – Limbo
  • Deborah Mailman – The New Boy – winner!
  • Ursula Yovich – The Royal Hotel
  • Selina Zahednia – Shayda
  • Miranda Otto – Talk to Me

Best Screenplay

  • Ivan Sen – Limbo
  • Goran Stolevski – Of an Age – winner!
  • Noora Niasari – Shayda
  • Kitty Green & Oscar Redding –The Royal Hotel
  • Danny Philippou & Bill Hinzman –Talk to Me

Best Cinematography

  • Ivan Sen – Limbo
  • Warwick Thornton – The New Boy – winner!
  • Matthew Chuang – Of an Age
  • Michael Lethem –The Royal Hotel
  • Aaron McLisky –Talk to Me

Best Documentary

  • The Dark Emu Story
  • Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story
  • The Giants – winner!
  • John Farnham: Finding the Voice
  • The Last Daughter
  • This is Going to Be Big

Best International Documentary

  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – winner!
  • American Symphony
  • Beyond Utopia
  • Little Richard: I Am Everything
  • Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
  • Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
  • A Storm Foretold

Best International Film (English Language)

  • Aftersun
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Oppenheimer – winner!
  • Poor Things
  • Tár

Best International Film not in English Language

  • The Blue Caftan
  • The Boy and the Heron
  • Godland
  • Godzilla Minus One
  • Past Lives – winner!

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and 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. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk