Aacta awards 2021: The Newsreader, Nitram and High Ground scoop nominations

Drama series commissioned by the ABC dominate nominations recognising Australian film and television content

The ABC television drama The Newsreader is a firm favourite in the 2021 Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts (Aacta) awards, receiving nominations in 10 categories.

The Michael Lucas-created drama set in a 1980s newsroom is up for awards for best drama series, best lead actress in a drama (Anna Torv), best lead actor (Sam Reid), best direction (Emma Freeman) and best screenplay (Lucas).

The controversial film Nitram, depicting the months leading up to the Port Arthur massacre, is up for seven nominations.

Caleb Landry Jones, who plays the Martin Bryant character, has already won a best actor award at Cannes film festival earlier this year, and has also been nominated in the same category at the Aactas.

Judy Davis has been nominated for best lead actress in a film for her portrayal of Bryant’s mother.

The Justin Kurzel film has attracted critical acclaim, with Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw describing it as “hypnotically disquieting”.

But Nitram has also attracted plenty of criticism from Tasmanians, including the state government, which argued the events of 1996 were still too raw to depict on screen.

The Stephen Johnson-directed film High Ground, set in the 1930s on a mission in Arnhem Land, has also received seven nominations.

Veteran actor Noni Hazlehurst has been recognised for both her television and film work, with nominations for the drama/comedy June Again and for best supporting actress in the Foxtel euthanasia miniseries The End.

The ABC dramas Wentworth, Wakefield and Fires have also attracted multiple nominations.

A scene from Wakefield.
A scene from Wakefield. Photograph: ABC

Tom Gleeson and Kitty Flanagan are among the nominees for best comedy performer, while Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds and Brazen Hussies are among the nominees for best documentary.

Love on the Spectrum and You Can’t Ask That have been nominated for best factual entertainment program.

Winners will be announced at the Sydney Opera House on 8 December.


Kelly Burke

The GuardianTramp

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