Sapphires drama dominates Australian film awards

The stars of the film and the original Sapphires band members attended the ceremony in Sydney.

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Feel-good drama The Sapphires dominated the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA), picking up 11 gongs at the ceremony in Sydney.

The musical comedy about an Aboriginal girl group entertaining the troops in Vietnam was named best film.

Chris O'Dowd, who plays the group's manager, won best actor, with Deborah Mailman named best actress and Jessica Mauboy named best supporting actress.

Psychological thriller Wish You Were Here was also among the winners.

The film, starring Joel Edgerton, was named best original screenplay, with Antony Starr picking up best supporting actor.

Start Quote

Accepting the award from Nicole Kidman, it's unexplainable”

End Quote Jessica Mauboy

The ceremony at Sydney's Star Casino was hosted by Russell Crowe, with Australian stars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush also attending.

But the night belonged to The Sapphires, with Wayne Blair collecting the best director award. The film also won best adapted screenplay and picked up five technical awards.

When asked backstage if he anticipated the film's awards success, Blair replied: "Not in my wildest dreams.

"It just came out of the blue. Out of the 12 nominations I thought we might win you know, one or two, that'd be lovely, that'd be vindication of something, But winning a few more is good, very positive."

Mauboy, who received her prize from Kidman, said: "Oh my goodness, accepting the award from Nicole Kidman, it's unexplainable."

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