The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has set nominations for its 3rd AACTA Awards. The feature prizes, considered the local equivalent of the Oscars, aren’t as young as they seem: they’re a continuum of the Australian Film Institute Awards which were established in 1958. Baz Luhrmann’s Oz-filmed The Great Gatsby scooped 14 nods followed by Kim Mourdant’s foreign language Oscar entry The Rocket with 12. The AACTAs also honor TV and gave 10 nominations to Jane Campion’s New Zealand-set BBC mini Top Of The Lake. Along with Gatsby and The Rocket, the nominees for Best Feature include Tony Krawitz’s drama Dead Europe; Ivan Sen’s thriller Mystery Road; family pic Satellite Boy by Catriona McKenzie; and omnibus The Turning, with directorial efforts by the likes of Mia Wasikowska and Justin Kurzel. Rose Byrne is nominated for lead actress in that pic, along with Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby; Tasma Walton in Mystery Road; and Naomi Watts in Adoration. Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated as Best Actor for Gatsby; Tribeca winner Sitthiphon Disamoe has a nod for The Rocket; Ewen Leslie is nominated for Dead Europe; and Hugo Weaving picked up a mention for The Turning. That film’s ensemble of helmers has a Best Director nomination along with Luhrmann, Mourdant and Sen. The AACTAs will be handed out over two events on January 28th and 30th. Following is a full list of nominees:
Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Australia Set ‘Homeland’ Season Bows; Travel Channel Orders Jonathan Phang Series; More
UK, Australia Won’t Wait Long For Season 3 Of ‘Homeland’
The UK’s Channel 4 has set an October 6 start for Season 3 of Homeland. The show airs at 9 PM and will get to Britain one week after its U.S. debut on Showtime on September 29. Meanwhile, folks in Australia will get to stream the first episode online while it’s airing in the States. Oz newspaper The Age says that Network Ten is using the stunt to launch its new streaming platform, tenplay. Ten will stream the episode from 2.15 PM Sydney time on Monday, September 30, to any internet user in Australia. That’s 9:15 PM Sunday night in LA, so the show will be on a 15-minute delay. So far the experiment only covers the first episode with the broadcaster waiting to gauge response before making plans for further first-run streaming. The regular season is planned for 8:30 PM Mondays.
Travel Channel Orders ‘Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express’
Travel Channel has commissioned new six-part series, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express. The cooking show will follow Phang as he journeys on some of the world’s most iconic trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Orient Express, for a series of culinary adventures. Each episode will feature stops along the route to explore different foods and cultures. The series premieres in February and rolls out on Food Network in various markets later in the year. Transparent Television produces.
CBS‘ limited summer series Under The Dome bows in the U.S. on June 24. It’s also headed to 200 overseas markets, CBS Studios International said today. The 13-episode adaptation of the Stephen King novel is set in a small New England town that’s suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. Global sales include the UK (Channel 5), Germany (ProSiebenSat1), France (M6), Italy (Rai Due), Australia (Network Ten) and Canada (Global Television). Individual airdates will vary by country, but CBS International says some networks will start rollout this summer. CBS Television Studios produces in association with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Neal Baer, King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider, Jack Bender and scribe Brian K. Vaughan executive produce.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Tom Hardy Hosts ‘Poaching Wars’; Big Bucks For Aussie Cricket; ITV Preps Singing Show; More
Tom Hardy To Host ITV’s ‘Poaching Wars’
Tom Hardy will host ITV documentary series Poaching Wars With Tom Hardy, a look at the wholesale wildlife poaching crisis in Africa. ITV says the actor conceived the proposition for the two one-hour films which are co-produced by Burning Bright Productions and Hardy’s Hardy, Son & Baker. Large-scale elephant and rhino slaughter are bringing both species to the brink of extinction across Africa and Hardy trekked across the continent to meet the farmers who have lost livestock to poachers and key figures from organizations which are fighting back. Hardy, Dean Baker and Clive Tulloh are exec producing. Ewen Thompson produces and directs.
Aussie Nets Pay $568M For Cricket Matches
Cricket may be something of a mystery to U.S. sports fans, but a new deal Down Under confirms its position as a top draw for Aussies. Cricket Australia has entered a $568M broadcast arrangement with Channels Nine and Ten to air all international games live and in full. Channel Nine will take rights for a further five years and has also agreed to a $60M joint venture to develop new digital products, including live streaming. Cricket will be the only major sport in Australia to stream matches live on PCs. Network Ten will air the domestic KFC Big Bash League matches as part of the deal. “The average annual value of …
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Trip’ Season 2; UK Tax Incentives; Sony, Universal Team In Nordic Region; Electus & ‘Bet On Your Baby’; Endemol In Israel & More
Coogan, Brydon & Winterbottom To Take Another ‘Trip’
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reteaming with Michael Winterbottom for a second series of The Trip. The BBC Two comedy, released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC, set Coogan and Brydon off on a road trip to tour the UK Lake District’s best restaurants. Memorable for the duo’s attempts to best one another at celebrity impressions, the first season was highly improvised. The second season will be set in Italy on a road trip that retraces the footsteps of the Romantics, Coogan told Empire Magazine.
UK Touts Tax Incentive For High-End TV Productions
The British film industry celebrated the UK’s new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs this morning in London. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey were on hand to outline the importance of the new incentives which will see qualifying high-end TV and animation productions receive up to 25% in tax relief. The scheme came into effect on April 1. Vaizey said “The UK’s creative industries are a real success story, worth more than £36 billion a year. We know that the television and animation sectors make a real difference to the UK economy and these new tax reliefs will be instrumental in expanding our potential.” Iain Smith, producer and chair of the British Film Commission, encouraged the industry to “continue to fight rigorously to maintain our position as a leading center of production.” There was also a case study of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which is shooting its fourth season in Northern Ireland. HBO SVP Jay Roewe noted the new measures “will make filming in the UK an even more viable proposition.” The BFC recently hosted events in Los Angeles and New York to educate studios, broadcasters, producers and agents on the incentives.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The Bridge, the Shine America-FX Prods. co-produced adaptation of the Scandinavian crime drama series Bron, represents what Rich Ross described as “a perfect example” of the Fox units’ concerted push into scripted fare. The Shine America CEO made his remarks Thursday local time during his keynote at the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association conference in Sydney. Ross showed a two-minute clip of the remake, Shine’s first U.S. drama series, which stars Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger and is set to debut on FX in July and internationally on Fox International Channels. Ross called The Bridge an ideal mating of “international talent with terrific content formatted from another territory”.
Installed at Shine America two months ago, the former Walt Disney Studios chairman said, “Setting our sights on scripted programming seemed a natural path” because of the “explosion in the world of scripted TV over the last five years, led by one-hour dramas. In the U.S. there are 29 different buyers of drama programming versus just 16 in 2007. And 45% more dramas are being commissioned in the U.S. versus 5 years ago.”
Ross also is expecting big things from recently launched Shine Hispanic & Latin America headed by Cristina Palacio. Its mandate is to produce scripted and unscripted fare including telenovelas, game …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Rupert Murdoch Ally Severs Ties With Forbes Rich List; Oz Media Shake-Up; ‘Dyatlov Pass’ In Russia
Rupert Murdoch Ally At Odds With Forbes’ Billionaires List
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, an ally of Rupert Murdoch whose Kingdom Holding Company shares business interests with News Corp., is in dispute with Forbes over his placement on its annual billionaires list. The magazine placed him at number 26 on its list with an estimated worth of $20B. But the prince’s office thinks that’s several billion too low. According to The Financial Times, the prince severed ties on Monday with the list, citing a “flawed” valuation method. Forbes responded that it “has been investigating the prince’s finances for several years, and will detail its findings in a feature story in the magazine” that will appear online. Kingdom Holding will continue to collaborate with the Bloomberg Billionaires index, however, which measures the prince’s wealth at $28B, which he considers more accurate. Among his holdings, the Saudi investor owns about 7% of News Corp. which in turn owns 9.09% of the Rotana media group. He’s also got a stake in Twitter and owns Paris’ George V hotel.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Iran Disses ‘Argo’ After Oscar Win, ‘I Want Your Love’ Banned In Oz, HBO Go Launches In Asia, Depardieu In Chechnya & More
Iran Dismisses ‘Argo’ As “Anti-Iran”, Pro-CIA
Iran’s culture minister blasted Argo, a day after it won the Best Picture Oscar, calling it anti-Iranian and weak artistically. Iran’s state TV also called the movie “an advertisement for the CIA.” “This anti-Iran film lacks any artistic aspects and it is a very weak film from an artistic perspective and we don’t expect anything else from the enemy,” Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency and reported by Reuters. Mehr called the Oscar “politically motivated” because first lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson via video link from Washington to help present the best picture award. Argo has not screened in any Iranian theaters but the movie has been widely available on bootleg DVDs in the black market in Tehran. The Iran hostage drama also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay.
Xavier Samuel Set For Australian Drama ‘Healing’
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Xavier Samuel will co-star with Hugo Weaving and Don Hany in Healing, writer-director Craig Monahan’s drama which starts shooting in Victoria on February 18. Samuel, who’ll next be seen in Catherine Hardwicke’s thriller Plush, plays a young, vulnerable prisoner who gets involved in a rehabilitation program involving treating injured birds at a low-security prison farm run by Weaving’s Senior Officer Perry. Hany plays a long-term crim who has almost given up on life. The cast includes Jane Menelaus, Anthony Hayes, Mark Leonard Winter, Robert Taylor and Justine Clark. The producers are Tait Brady and Monahan’s PointBlank Pictures. Monahan co-wrote the script with Alison Nisselle. Andrew Lesnie is the DOP. Lightning Entertainment consultant Richard Guardian is pitching the project to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market. – Don Groves
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Nominated for 12 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, The Sapphires won six gongs at a ceremony hosted by Russell Crowe in Sydney on Wednesday night. The musical drama about four Aboriginal girls who formed a singing group in the 1960s won best director (Wayne Blair), lead actress (Deborah Mailman), lead actor (Chris O’Dowd), supporting actress (Jessica Mauboy) and adapted screenplay (Keith Thompson, Tony Briggs). That’s in addition to five craft awards presented on Monday. The Weinstein Co. will release the film in the U.S. on March 22. Thriller Wish You Were Here took the AACTA original screenplay award for husband-and-wife creative team Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price, and supporting actor for Antony Starr. German actress Saskia Rosendahl received the best young actor trophy for Cate Shortland’s Lore, which was Australia’s entry for the foreign language Oscar. The Byron Kennedy Award, named for George Miller’s late producing partner, went to director/animator Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways, My Year Without Sex), who died of cancer in 2011. John Edwards’ Puberty Blues, which was inspired by Bruce Beresford’s 1981 film, was named best TV drama series. Presenters included AACTA president Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. It was the second annual ACTAA awards, the successor to the Australian Film Institute’s awards. The complete list of winners follows:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Aussie Box Office, Russell Crowe, Palace Cinemas, British Film Institute & More
Aussie 2012 B.O. Up But Below 2010 Record
Australian cinemas raked in $A1.125 billion ($1.188 billion) in 2012, up 2.8% on the previous year but a fraction below the industry 2010 record of $1.128 billion, the year of Avatar, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. The Aussie films’ B.O. share was 4.3%, slightly above the 10-year average of 3.8%. The MPDAA’s stats do not quantify ticket sales but Deadline estimates the admissions total was 85.8 million in 2012, based on an average ticket price of $13.10, compared with 85 million in 2011 and 92 million in 2010. The transition from 35mm film projection to digital continued apace an estimated 72% of the country’s 1,995 screens are now digital, including all major circuits; of those, 57% are 3D capable. The year’s top-grosser was The Avengers with $53.2 million; the best result for an Aussie film was The Sapphires with $14.4 million.- Don Groves
Prince And Princesses Denounce ‘Grace Of Monaco’
Monaco’s Prince Albert and his sisters Princesses Caroline and Stephanie criticized as glamorized fiction the screenplay for the movie starring Nicole Kidman as their mother, former Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. A statement released by the royal palace of Monaco charged that Grace of Monaco contained “historical untruths” and some “purely fictional” parts. Their statement was intended to debunk a story in the magazine Paris Match that said the Monaco royals had been reassured by producers about the credibility of director Olivier Dahan’s project. “Their Highnesses were quite surprised when they received the script,” said the statement emailed to Reuters. “The Palace had submitted many requests for changes to the producers of the film, not all of which were taken into consideration.” The statement added, “Consequently, the Princely family wishes to emphasize that this film is by no means a biopic”.
Marion Cotillard To Be Feted At Harvard
Oscar winning French actress Marion Cotillard has been named Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ woman of the year. Cotillard won her Best Actress Academy Award for 2007’s La Vie En Rose and last year won accolades for her role in Jacques Audiard’s Rust And Bone. She will be feted with a parade and a roast and given her ceremonial pudding pot at Harvard on January 31. She’s the first French actress to receive the honor.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
New films from Red Dog director Kriv Stenders, Samson & Delilah helmer Warwick Thornton and first-time feature directors Wayne Hope and Kasimir Burgess are among 11 film and TV projects that secured funding Monday local time from Screen Australia. The agency is investing more than $A11.4 million ($12 million) in five features, five adult TV drama series and one children’s series, with combined budgets of more than $64 million. Stenders will direct Kill Me Three Times, a black comedic thriller set in an Australian coastal town written by James McFarland, starring Abbie Cornish, Alice Braga and Sullivan Stapleton; WME and Cargo Entertainment are handling international sales and Hopscotch eOne is the Australian distributor. Thornton’s The Darkside is a collection of ghost tales related by actors including The Sapphires’ Deborah Mailman and Sheri Sebbens, Bryan Brown, Brendan Cowell and Sacha Horler, which will give an indigenous perspective on the afterlife; Transmission will release locally. An experienced TV director, Hope will tackle Now Add Honey, a comedy about a suburban family whose life implodes when their pop star cousin comes to stay, written by his wife Robyn Butler; Lightning Entertainment has foreign and Roadshow will distribute in Australia. Burgess, whose short “Lily” won the 2011 Berlinale Crystal Bear, will make Fell, a fable of revenge, redemption and renewal scripted by Natasha Pincus; Maze Film Sales/The Yellow Affair are handling foreign sales and Footprint is the Oz distributor.
The Amazing Race Sprints North To Canada
CBS’ The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan announced tonight that viewers north of the border can look forward to their own The Amazing Race Canada that will air on Canada’s CTV, which has licensed format rights from Disney-ABC Domestic Television. The Amazing Race Canada will launch in Summer 2013. Competition will take place within Canada, which features a variety of rugged, challenging terrain. Insight Productions will produce with the support of Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri’s Profiles Television. Casting, host, and other information about the show will be announced during the coming months.
Merlin will cast its final spell on BBC One this Christmas. The fantasy-adventure show that’s loosely based on Arthurian legend airs on Syfy in the U.S. and will end after five seasons. Co-creators and exec producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy say the series is bowing out at its natural climax, with the finale bringing an end to the battle for Camelot. Capps and Murphy have also announced they are leaving Shine TV, producer of the show, at the end of the year to start their own production company. Shine and FremantleMedia Enterprises, which handles the show internationally, are in the early stages of developing potential Merlin spinoffs using the universe created in the series. Any future shows would be produced by Shine’s Kudos in partnership with FME. Merlin debuted in 2008 and stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Richard Wilson and the voice of John Hurt. Its other international broadcast partners include Germany’s Super RTL, France’s Canal+ and Australia’s Network Ten.
Global Showbiz Briefs: More BBC Fallout, Quickflix Trading Halt, Lachlan Murdoch On Ten, Screen Australia Funds New Pics
BBC Probe: “Unacceptable” Journalistic/Management Failures
More senior BBC staff could leave the corporation as an internal report into the Newsnight fiasco that cost former director general George Entwistle his post draws damning conclusions. The investigation by BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie concluded that “unacceptable” journalistic and management failures caused the broadcast of false claims against a senior political figure. Newsnight aired the allegations of child sexual abuse in its November 2 program, but didn’t name the man, later revealed to be Lord McAlpine. As a result, it didn’t offer the retired adviser to Margaret Thatcher a right of reply as BBC editorial guidelines mandated, and it was subsequently revealed that the victim had mistaken the identity of his attacker. “Basic editorial checks were not completed,” the report said.
‘Skyfall’ Brings Windfall To UK’s Odeon Circuit
On Thursday, Skyfall became the UK’s all-time highest grossing 007 movie, taking £57M ($91.2)in just 12 days. Odeon, Britain’s largest cinema chain, is reaping the benefits of the breakout Bond movie scoring the largest 7-day opening ever for a single film with £11.3M ($18.1M) in takings at its theaters. Its flagship cinema, Odeon Leicester Square, also set a new record with more than £530K ($848K) in Skyfall’s first week to overtake Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took £495K ($792K at current exchange rate) in 2011. Odeon had a 30.5% market share of Skyfall’s UK box office in its first week.
Phone-Hacking Allegations Hit Mirror Newspapers
Until yesterday, phone-hacking claims had been limited to papers owned by News Corp.’s UK press arm. Now, Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers may be brought into the scandal as four individuals line up cases against its titles. Among those seeking damages are former manager of the English soccer team, Sven Goran Eriksson; a former nanny to David Beckham’s children and a TV soap actress. Eriksson’s claims against the Daily Mirror are believed to stem from a period when CNN host Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics late last year at which time he said he had no knowledge or reason to believe there was any phone hacking at the paper during his tenure. The claims against Mirror papers allege “breach of confidence and misuse of private information,” in relation to the “interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts.” The attorney for the claimants, Mark Lewis, said no particulars had been filed, but that relevant dates relating to alleged activity were submitted to the court, The Guardian reports. A spokesman for MGN parent, Trinity Mirror, said: “We have no comment. We are unaware action has been taken at the High Court.”
Downton Abbey Hits New Season High In UK Overnights, Debuts In NZ
Downton Abbey was up again Sunday night on the UK’s ITV. The sixth episode of Season 3 hit an overnight ratings high of 9.69M viewers during the 9pm hour. That score, a 36.6% share, beat the season’s previous top performer which drew 9.66M viewers in the overnights on Oct. 1. Factoring in Sunday’s delayed viewings, Downton drew just over 10M viewers. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, season 3 of the show kicked off this weekend on free-to-air web Prime drawing top ratings with just over 350K viewers.
New Top Programmer At Australia’s Ten
Beverley McGarvey starts tomorrow in perhaps the most challenging job in Australian commercial broadcasting: chief programming officer at Network Ten, the network languishing in third place in the ratings behind Seven and Nine. A six-year Ten veteran, McGarvey had been acting in that role since August 24 following the ousting of the respected and long-serving David Mott. Last week Ten reported a net loss of $A12.9 million ($13.3 million) in the year to August 31 and embarked on another round of cost-cutting, with plans to shed more than 100 jobs in the news and production departments. Before joining Ten as network head of programming in 2006, McGarvey served as director of programming for New Zealand’s TV3. Previously she was head of program scheduling and promotions at Ireland’s TV3. –Don Groves
With an eye toward boosting overall subscription revenue Sky Deutschland is betting that its growing customer base will accept higher rates and fewer discounts. The German pay-TV provider half owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp this month raised premium packages by €1 ($1.31) monthly for the first time in nearly 2 years. CFO Steven Tomsic said he eventually hopes the market will accept further increases in the current €32 ($41.92) average monthly bill of as much as €5 to €10 ($6.55 to $13.10). Unlike European peers such as British Sky Broadcasting Group, also partly owned by News Corp, Sky Deutschland hasn’t raised prices regularly. Tomsic believes subscribers will be attached enough to the service to accept the increases. Bloomberg noted that Sky Deutschland stock is up 133% this year. CEO Brian Sullivan hopes the company will be able to reach its target for operating profit in 2013, which would be its first since News Corp began investing 5 years ago.