The Australian film industry turned out in style for the 8th Annual Australians in Film Awards Gala and Benefit Dinner last week at Intercontinental Century City in Los Angeles.

The annual Awards Gala and Benefit Dinner celebrates the achievements of Australian entertainment professionals, supports the foundation’s mission to usher Australian filmmakers into the international market, and provide educational and career development programs. This year’s event also celebrated the official launch of the Great Mate initiative, established by Australians in Film (AiF) and founding great mates Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman and Monica Saunders-Weinberg and her husband Rich Weinberg. Together they are encouraging all successful Australian screen creatives to help support Australians in Film’s vital work in nurturing the next generation of Australian screen voices.

Celebrating Australia’s impact on the entertainment industry, Ruby Rose was awarded with the Create NSW Annette Kellerman Award. The xXx: The Return of Xander Cage co-stars formed a bond on the set of the high-octane action sequel. On receiving the Award, Rose said: “Thanks Australians in Film for having me. Sometimes I just need to be around Australians. It’s humbling and it’s grounding. This strange job can make you not feel grounded. When I’m in a room with a bunch of accents like mine, I feel at home.”

The Screen Australia Breakthrough Award, recognising Australian screen talent who have had major international presence over the past year, was presented to Succession star Sarah Snook, Hotel Mumbai director Anthony Maras, and Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery. “Knowing you have someone in your corner and someone behind you means so much in this industry. This Award feels like you have a country in your corner and thank you so much for this,” Snook said.

The Orry-Kelly Award was awarded to Naomi Watts. The two-time Academy Award nominee has garnered several accolades throughout her career including nominations for a Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award. She was recently seen in The Loudest Voice and will next be seen in Penguin Bloom. “It was in Australia where I learned how to act,” said Watts. “Back then Hollywood was the only film mecca. There was no
Australians in Film back then, no Aussie community. This summer, after three decades, I got the chance to shoot in
Australia again – one of the more memorable moments of my career. I wouldn’t have made it this far without so many
incredible people along the way.”

Readers also enjoyed our story Watts Honoured.