The two films up for the 1988 Best Film “Ozcar” – Australia’s answer to Hollywood’s Oscars – have yet to be released for public screening.
The hot favourites are The Navigator, a New Zealand-Australian co-production, and Mullaway, a family drama about Aussie battlers.
The Navigator, a fantasy drama about a group of medieval peasants who confront the modern world, has already received critical praise at the Cannes Film Festival.
The makers of both films hope an award at tomorrow night’s ceremony at Darling Harbour will persuade distributors to give them a major release in the cinemas.
Incredibly, of the 19 feature films nominated in the Best Film category, only four have been seen by the public.
The 30th anniversary of the awards is surrounded by controversy. Due to a dispute over voting rules, the awards are being boycotted by scriptwriters while the Producers Association is hinting at similar action next year.
Film insiders are also disappointed by the disqualification of Shame, one of this year’s most critically acclaimed features.
The glittering occasion with be hosted by Gary MacDonald and Geraldine Turner along with co-hosts Gillian Armstrong, Sam Neill, Angela Punch-McGregor and Bill Hunter.
* Best director: New Zealander Vincent Ward could win with The Navigator or Don McLennan with Mullaway. Other contenders are Craig Lahiff for the action thriller Fever and Pino Armenter for Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.
* Best actress: The biggest name is obviously Wendy Hughes for the romantic period drama Boundaries Of The Heart. However, insiders are tipping a close race between young TV star Nadine Garner for Mullaway and Jo Kennedy for the urban drama Tender Hooks.
* Best actor: An intriguing battle between veteran John Waters from Boulevard Of Broken Dreams and 12-year-old Hamish McFarlane from The Navigator could be the surprise of the night. A dark horse is stage veteran Sean Scully for the drama thriller Phobia.
* Best supporting actress: Talented newcomer and stand-up comedienne Mary Coustas and veteran all-rounder Sue Jones are nominated for Mullaway. However, either Julie Nihill for Boundaries Of The Heart or Tina Bursill for the modern comedy Jilted could walk away with this one.
* Best supporting actor: The obvious favourite is The Comedy Company’s Kim Gyngell for his delightful performance as a frustrated writer in Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. Gyngell is in an interesting position as he’s also competing with his Grievous Bodily Harm co-star Bruno Lawrence for this award. Other nominees include Paul Livingston for The Navigator and John Meillon as a kinky judge in The Everlasting Secret Family.
Other major awards:
* Best documentary: Cane Toads – An Unnatural History, Riding The Gale, South Of The Border, Thanks Girls and Goodbye.
* Best TV mini series: The Alien Years, Captain James Cook, Poor Man’s Orange and The True Believers.
* Best telefeature: Fragments Of War, Matter Of Convenience, Olive and Sisterly Love.