This time of the year is like an astronomical event for Australian entertainment. With the Arias just passed, soon the Aactas will be upon us once more; the red carpet season leading to celebrity dry-cleaning bills the size of a senator’s personal helicopter account.
The Oscars might have Billy Crystal, and nobody does a musical number like the American music awards, but there’s something about an Australian gong-fest that really sets the heartstrings humming. Whether it’s Bert Newton doing his best comedy club material to fill time between Logies, anarchic performances of hit singles at the Arias, or a Brownlow red carpet fashion mishap, we all remember ‘those’ moments when Australia’s music/film/TV/sports industry got together to fete itself and came off like a school eisteddfod.
Test your knowledge of Australian nights of nights with this quiz – no prizes, but it’s an honour just to be nominated.
Deborah Mailman made history as the first Aboriginal actress to win an AFI Award, taking home best performance by an actress in a leading role for her work in which film?
The Monkey's Mask (2000), directed by Samantha Lang
Radiance (1998), directed by Rachel Perkins
Bran Nue Dae (2009), directed by Rachel Perkins
The Book of Revelation (2006), directed by Ana Kokkinos
At the turn of the century, Madison Avenue’s earworms were everywhere, so it was only natural that they perform a medley of their hits at the 2000 Aria awards – only nobody remembers the song and dance routine. What request did singer Cheyne Coates make midway through the performance?
More feedback in her in-ear monitor
A schooner of beer
A glass of water
More noise from the crowd
The Logies have long had a storied tradition of inviting overseas guests on to the show to give our humble industry a dash of Hollywood stardust. In 1973, Mod Squad star Michael Cole appeared, co-presenting with Bert Newton, and made waves with which first?
First person to pass out on stage
First person to propose marriage live on the show
First person to be paid $1m to appear
First person to swear during the broadcast
At 2014’s Aacta awards, Russell Crowe beamed in from Los Angeles to present the gong for best supporting actress. Which co-star crashed his bit?
When Silverchair were still wee bairns, they teamed up with Tim Rogers to perform Radio Birdman’s legendary anthem New Race at the 1995 Aria Awards. What happened to drummer Ben Gillies at the performance’s climax?
He tried to dive into the kick drum and knocked himself out
He threw a drumstick in the air with such force it accidentally broke the lighting rig
He tried to crowd surf but was dropped by the punters
The stage collapsed and his drum kit fell through the riser
The Brownlows are as much about the red carpet arrivals as they are about the actual ceremony, which is not surprising since the Brownlow ceremony is about as thrilling as watching the grass grow at the MCG. In 2001, Tania Buckley, then wife of Collingwood star Nathan, set the tabloids alight by wearing a dress with what feature?
The skirt was full of fibre optic lights that displayed the Collingwood Magpie
A thigh-high split and a low-cut neckline
The back revealed a bejewelled G-string
It was made of recycled Collingwood jerseys
In 1995, the Arias introduced a new category, best dance release, for which Itch-E & Scratch-E’s Sweetness & Light was a shoo in. True or false? When Paul Mac (AKA Itch-E) accepted the award, he said: “We’d like to thank all of Sydney’s ecstasy dealers, without whom this award would not be possible.”
The Walkley awards are usually a sedate affair where fine journalism is feted over a nice dinner, but in 2006 the ceremony made headlines of its own. What happened?
Leigh Sales did the Nutbush in the Crown Casino fountain
News Ltd writer Glenn Milne shoved Crikey’s Steven Mayne off the stage
Fran Kelly and Michelle Grattan were caught playing Two-up
Barry Jones smashed a bottle of champagne over his table’s centrepiece
After an introduction by icon Molly Meldrum and a video package detailing her career’s ups and downs, which unlikely candidate presented Kylie Minogue’s induction into the Aria Hall of Fame in 2011?
Dame Edna Everage
In 2013, Tracy Grimshaw admitted to Kyle and Jackie O that, yes, the rumours about her infamous 1998 Logies post-show escapades were true. What did the A Current Affair stalwart do after the ceremony wrapped up?
Spewed on Bert Newton's toupee
Punched Sam Newman in the guts
Ended up in a Crown hallway in the nude
Had a drunken swim in the Yarra
1:B - Since then she’s won another five AFI/Aacta awards for her work in film and TV. 1998 was a busy year for Mailman, who was at the time appearing as Cordelia in Barrie Kosky’s groundbreaking production of King Lear for Bell Shakespeare Company., 2:C - Even more infamously, once the choreography kicked up a notch, Coates’ giant glass of H2O was left sitting at the front of the stage for the rest of the performance. At least, we think it was H2O., 3:D - Cole dropped – not literally – a big “shit” in the middle of their bit. Bert, ever the showman, later recalled: “The program aired on a Friday night and the network received a couple of hundred calls from people complaining. Back in those years they always replayed the Logies on a Sunday afternoon. They edited out his piece and we got 2000 calls complaining.”, 4:B - The pair were filming The Nice Guys at the time, and presented the award with all the “who’s on first” energy they would bring to the underrated action comedy. Big Russ is no stranger to the AFI/Aactas, having won four and been nominated for another six of the big paperweights., 5:A - In a profile of the band for US Rolling Stone the following year, Gillies revealed the band members’ fathers acted as unofficial safety wardens. “If we did something stupid and hurt ourselves, they’d just go ‘You dickhead, I told you not to do that’.” They must have had a field day after the drum skin moment., 6:C - In 2019, Tania told the Herald Sun that the backlash she faced for her cheeky sartorial choice was so bad “I wouldn't wish it on anybody. It was something we did and didn't think was that full on. It was just a bit of fun but it dragged on for so many years.” Real talk: the G-banger dress is an all-time Brownlow great, and Tania looked amazing - take that, Bec Judd!, 7:A - The speech was censored in the broadcast of the ceremony. Years later, Mac has no regrets about his iconic speech, recalling: “I got in so much trouble for that, but I don’t care. I’m still proud of it. I meant every word, and I still do.”, 8:B - Milne later apologised for his outburst, issuing a statement in which he chalked his behaviour down to not having read the little flyer that comes in the medication packet. “I lamentably mixed alcohol and migraine medication with shocking consequences. I apologise too to Stephen Mayne and the organisers of the awards. There's no excuse for my behaviour.”, 9:D - Decked out in black sequins, the then-PM was played on by James Freud’s absolute banger, Modern Girl, and greeted by Molly doing his best “we’re not worthy” bow., 10:C - Grimshaw had been doing shots with her friend James Packer after the awards show, and ended up in such a state she got the two doors in her hotel room mixed up. “Suddenly it was quarter to four in the morning, and I had done a few tequila shots and I was doing the Today Show that morning,” she said. “I thought I am going to have a shower and get ready because the girls are going to be here in 15 minutes to get me all shooshed for the Today Show. So I took the dress off I was wearing and the finery and pulled all the bits and bobs from my hair and went to have a shower and found myself in the hallway. At Crown. Yup.”
10 and above.
Not only do you like to watch awards shows on television, you’ve actually been to them. You can remember who accepted their award via video, whose speech was the most controversial, and what was served for dinner which year. We’re pretty sure you might actually be TV’s beloved John Wood.
7 and above.
You have a soft spot for the slight chaos that an Aussie awards show brings, and fond memories of iconic moments, but you’re not a “carpetbagger”: you catch the highlights on the news and look at the pictures in the paper, but don’t usually watch the whole thing.
0 and above.
You’ve never watched an awards show - a streak you plan to maintain indefinitely. When pressed, you may reveal you once glanced at the social pages after [insert awards here], and insist you took no pleasure in it, but secretly you often daydream about who you’d thank if you ever won a paperweight of your own.
5 and above.
If you were shown a group of Australian awards statuettes in a line-up, you’d be hard pressed to tell your Logies from your AACTAs. You have some vague memories of Bert’s stellar Logies standup segments, but couldn’t think of anything worse than strapping in for three-plus hours of heartfelt speeches.