You couldn’t have asked for more perfectly warm night. I know the weather seems like an odd thing to emphasis first up (especially in Los Angeles) but it actually set the mood for what quickly became a welcoming evening full of inclusively and the warmest of Aussie comradery. Set against a converted CBS stage in Hollywood’s NeueHouse space, the 2016 AIF Awards evening was unlike any Awards night I’ve been too. Golden candle like shadows, concrete paired with wood accents, faux fur throws, eucalyptus and scattered modern art made the event feel more like an elegant dinner at someones estate rather than a traditional Awards venue.
I wasn’t expecting the ambiance and evening to be as progressive as it was, but I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Australian’s like to do things a little differently, to be a cut above, push the boundaries a little further and let their adventurous spirit steer them along paths of their making. And this is exactly what we were all coming together to celebrate, not just the immensely talented being honored that evening, but every Aussie striving to make their dreams happen.
Australia’s lovable export Tim Minchin, was far and away the perfect MC for the night, infusing Aussie humor and warmth with our beloved cursive slang, to make us all feel right at home. Every honoree was inspiring in his or her own way, spurring the collective excitement we all have for our budding Aussie entertainment industry. Every accolade, speech, handshake and hug was proof of Australia’s growing influence and the stamp we are making on the world stage.
This year’s honorees included:
Annette Kellerman Award presented by Vogue Australia: Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect)
Fox Studios Australia International Award: James Wan (The Conjuring 1&2, Furious 7, Saw)
Ausfilm International Award: Sir Ridley Scott (The Martian, Thelma and Louise, Alien, Black Hawk Down)
Qants Orry Kelly Award: Greg Basser (Village Roadshow Entertainment Group)
Chasing big dreams in LA means that most of us are very far from home. It’s nights like these that really help put things into perspective and make achieving what we set out to do, just that little bit more real.
Lastly on a lighter note, some miscellaneous takeaways from the evening:
– When you spend a good ten minutes trying to look casual whilst sipping your drink, in what you think is a unsually empty cocktail space, it means you’re actually in the reception area and the party is that way —>
– The most heartfelt of emotional acceptances for the night came from the funniest of women, Rebel Wilson
– If you feel someone staring at you in the early hours of the morning while driving on Sunset Blvd… it’s likely to be Jeff Goldblum… and he’s in a Prius…