The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has released the list of 25 films eligible for the Feature Film categories at the 4th AACTA Awards. As the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards, the AACTA’s celebrate the quality of the Australian film industry and the vision and skill of our filmmakers. Although local product is often boycotted by cinema audiences at home (something that is unfathomable to me given our record of producing world class actors, directors, writers, cinematographers and bloody good films), Australia has a long history in the cinematic arts and the collection of eligible films is testimony to the talent and diversity within our film industry.


The 25 eligible films this year is an increase from last year’s 15 contenders and, whilst eight of the filmmakers in contention are former AFI/AACTA winners, almost half of the films in competition were made by first-time filmmakers. Despite the ambivalence of local audiences, it has been a good year for Australian films in the international arena with at least 10 of the films having garnered good responses at various film festivals around the world, a record number of Australian films having secured a US cinematic release and several achieving substantial global box office takings.

The 25 eligible films are:

52 Tuesdays;
Around the Block;
The Babadook;
Backyard Ashes;
Charlie’s Country;
I, Frankenstein;
The Infinite Man;
The Little Death;
My Mistress;
The Mule;
The Railway Man;
The Rover;
Son Of A Gun;
These Final Hours;
Turkey Shoot;
The Water Diviner;
William Kelly’s War;
Wolf Creek 2.

This is a quality field of contenders and no doubt much debate will ensue in the weeks ahead as votes are submitted and opinions offered. For what it’s worth, my top five (in no particular order) would be 52 Tuesdays, Tracks, Predestination, Charlie’s Country and The Railway Man. Given that almost everybody who votes brings their own biases and personal agendas to the process, there can never be any guarantee as to which films will make the final cut, or any certainty that the best film will actually win. However, I don’t think there is much doubt that Charlie’s Country is the frontrunner for Best Film and rightly so. That’s not to say there aren’t several most worthy contenders, but I would be surprised if Charlie’s Country doesn’t win both Best Film and Best Actor for the amazing David Gulpilil.

This list will be narrowed to a list of nominees and, once these finalists have been decided, I will proffer my predictions prior to the AACTA Awards ceremony in January.