AACTA Awards 2020: nominees

Mystery Road, Stateless, Bloom, Rosehaven & Upright amongst top TV nominees.

First nominees have been announced in the 2020 AACTA Awards.

Mystery Road and Stateless lead the Television category with 7 nominations, followed by 5 for Bloom and 3 each for Rosehaven & Upright.

ABC leads the TV nominations with 37, then Stan (31), 10 (12), Foxtel  / Nine / SBS (7), Seven (3) and
Amazon Prime (2 nominations).

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said, “As we celebrate a decade of Australian screen entertainment success since we launched AACTA, what stands out in this year’s nominees is the breadth and depth of diversity across all platforms, including from debut talent, which we hope signifies is the new norm.

“A record nine Indigenous stories and Indigenous-led productions are nominated this year across television, documentary short film and online content, with one of our highest years for Indigenous practitioners nominated yet, including break-through writer/director brothers Luke and Dan Riches with their online series KGB, and cast and crew from series two of the stand-out drama Mystery Road.

“A record 14 productions also feature CALD, LGBTIQA+ and disability storylines and talent, including online series Ding Dong I’m Gay, TV series Love on the Spectrum which features people with autism looking for love, First Day, a transgender high-school television drama, and Idol, our first short film nominee to be filmed entirely in a language other than English.

“What also stood out this year is the remarkable resilience of our screen industry which, against the odds of a global pandemic, found innovative ways to continue to deliver the laughs and entertainment we needed to get us through this challenging year.”

He added, “Lastly, this being AACTA’s 10th anniversary, I wanted to thank the industry, the public and our partners for their support over the last decade, including our incredible foundation partner, Destination New South Wales, and our amazing presenting partner, Foxtel.

“This support has allowed us to increase our awards categories by almost a third, allowing better representation of Australia’s dynamic and evolving screen industry. It has also extended AACTA’s footprint into the world’s top three screen markets, and we now reach one in five Australians annually via our year-round events, membership and broadcast of the AACTA Awards, as well as many millions of people internationally via our online content, promoting Australian screen and our talent globally.

“We congratulate all nominees, with more to be announced soon, and we look forward to sharing an exciting new AACTA Awards broadcast format on Wednesday 2 December in celebration of a decade of screen entertainment in Australia since AACTA launched,” Trewhella said.

Further television & documentary nominations are to come, with craft nominations to be announced on Thursday 12 November.


Best Drama Series

  • Bloom David Maher, David Taylor, Glen Dolman, Sue Seeary—Playmaker Media (Stan)
  • Doctor Doctor Ian Collie, Ally Henville, Keith Thompson, Rodger Corser—Easy Tiger (Nine Network)
  • Halifax: Retribution Roger Simpson, Louisa Kors—Beyond Lone Hand (Nine Network)
  • The Heights Warren Clarke, Peta Astbury-Bulsara, Debbie Lee, Que Minh Luu— Matchbox Pictures In Association With for Pete’s Sake Productions (ABC)
  • Mystery Road David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin—Bunya Productions (ABC)
  • Wentworth Jo Porter, Pino Amenta—Fremantle (Foxtel)

Best Telefeature or Miniseries

  • The Gloaming Victoria Madden, John Molloy, Fiona McConaghy—2 Jons And Sweet Potato Films (Stan)
  • Hungry Ghosts Stephen Corvini, Timothy Hobart, Debbie Lee, Sue Masters— Matchbox Pictures (SBS)
  • Operation Buffalo Vincent Sheehan, Tanya Phegan, Peter Duncan—Porchlight Films (ABC)
  • The Secrets She Keeps Helen Bowden, Jason Stephens, Paul Watters—Lingo Pictures (Network Ten)
  • Stateless Cate Blanchett, Elise McCredie, Tony Ayres, Sheila Jayadev, Paul Ranford, Liz Watts, Andrew Upton—Matchbox Pictures, Dirty Films (ABC)

Best Comedy Series

  • At Home Alone Together Nick Hayden, Janet Gaeta, Nikita Agzarian, Dan Ilic— Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)
  • Black Comedy Kath Shelper, Mark O’Toole, Nakkiah Lui, David Woodhead—Scarlett Pictures (ABC)
  • The Other Guy Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford, Jude Troy, Alice Willison—Aquarius Films, Wooden Horse (Stan)
  • Rosehaven Andrew Walker, Kevin Whyte, Celia Pacquola, Luke McGregor—What Horse? And Guesswork Television (ABC)
  • Upright – Jason Stephens, Helen Bowden, Melissa Kelly, Chris Taylor, Tim Minchin— Lingo Pictures (Foxtel)

Best Comedy Entertainment Program

  • Australian Amazon Original Stand-Up Specials Todd Abbott, Frank Bruzzese, Kevin Whyte, Kathleen McCarthy—Guesswork Television (Amazon Prime Video Australia)
  • Australian Lockdown Comedy Festival Kevin Whyte, Jon Casimir, Todd Abbott—Guesswork Television (Stan)
  • Drunk History Australia Paul Franklin, Chris Culvenor, Sophia Mogford, Ashley Davies—Eureka Productions (Network Ten)
  • LOL: Last One Laughing Australia David McDonald, Marty Benson—Amazon Prime Video Australia, Endemol Shine Australia (Amazon Prime Video Australia)
  • Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell Shaun Micallef, Peter Beck, Gary McCaffrie—ITV Studios Australia, Giant Baby Productions (ABC)

Best Entertainment Program

  • Eurovision – Australia Decides – Gold Coast 2020 Paul Clarke, Stephanie Werrett, Josh Martin—Blink TV Production (SBS)
  • Hard Quiz Chris Walker, Kevin Whyte, Charlie Pickering, Tom Gleeson, John Tabbagh—Thinkative Television (ABC)
  • Have You Been Paying Attention? Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Michael Hirsh, Rob Sitch—Working Dog Productions (Network Ten)
  • Lego Masters Australia David McDonald, AJ Johnson, Mark Barlin—Endemol Shine Australia In Association With Nine Network (Nine Network)
  • The Voice Leigh Aramberri, Chloe Baker, Jaala Webster, Beth Hart—ITV Studios Australia (Nine Network)
  • The Weekly Kevin Whyte, Chris Walker, Charlie Pickering, Jo Long—Thinkative Television, Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Best Factual Entertainment Program

  • Gogglebox Australia Howard Myers, David McDonald, Kerrie Kerr— Endemol Shine, Network Ten, Foxtel (Foxtel, Network Ten)
  • Hamish & Andy’s “Perfect” Holiday Tim Bartley, Hamish Blake, Andy Lee, Ryan Shelton—Radio Karate (Nine Network)
  • Love On The Spectrum Cian O’Clery, Karina Holden, Jenni Wilks —Northern Pictures (ABC)
  • The Project Craig Campbell, Christopher Bendall, Sarah Ashley—Roving Enterprises, Network Ten (Network Ten)
  • Who Do You Think You Are? Maxine Gray, Michael Wilton—Warner Bros. International Television Productions (SBS)
  • You Can’t Ask That Kirk Docker, Frances O’Riordan, Ali Russell—Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Best Lifestyle Program

  • Better Homes and Gardens Russel Palmer, Rani Eaton—Seven Network (Seven Network)
  • Jimmy Shu’s Taste of the Territory Naina Sen, Sally Ingleton, Josh Martin— Indigo Productions and 360 Degree Films (SBS)
  • The Living Room Sarah Thornton, Ciaran Flannery—Network Ten (Network Ten)
  • Luke Nguyen’s Railway Vietnam Michael Donnelly, Josh Martin, John Hatcher, Clara O’Sullivan—Red Creative Media (SBS)
  • Restoration Australia Brooke Bayvel—Fremantle (ABC)
  • Selling Houses Australia Sonia Harding, Geoff Fitzpatrick, Wendy Moore— Beyond Productions (Foxtel)

Best Reality Program

  • The Amazing Race Australia Paul Franklin, Chris Culvenor, Sophia Mogford, Stephen Tate—Eureka Productions (Network Ten)
  • Australian Survivor: All Stars Amelia Fisk, Keely Sonntag, Adam Fergusson— Endemol Shine Australia (Network Ten)
  • The Block David Barbour, Julian Cress—Cavalier Television (Nine Network)
  • I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Ben Ulm, Clare Bath, Alex Mavroidakis, Riima Daher—ITV Studios Australia (Network Ten)
  • Masterchef Australia Marty Benson, Adam Fergusson—Endemol Shine Australia (Network Ten)
  • The Real Dirty Dancing Paul Franklin, Chris Culvenor, Sophia Mogford, Sonya Wilkes—Eureka Productions (Seven Network)

Best Children’s Program

  • Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors? Vanna Morosini, Stu Connolly, Donna Andrews—Flying Kite Pictures & Sticky Fingers Pictures (ABC)
  • Bluey Joe Brumm, Charlie Aspinwall, Sam Moor, Daley Pearson—Ludo Studio (ABC)
  • First Day Julie Kalceff, Kirsty Stark, Kate Croser—Epic Films (ABC)
  • The Inbestigators Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope—Gristmill (ABC)
  • Little J & Big Cuz Tony Thorne, Ned Lander, Colin South, Alicia Rackett—Ned Lander Media (NITV)
  • Mustangs FC Amanda Higgs, Rachel Davis, Debbie Lee—Matchbox Pictures (ABC)

Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama

  • Fayssal Bazzi—Stateless
  • Bryan Brown—Bloom
  • Jai Courtney—Stateless
  • Ewen Leslie—Operation Buffalo
  • Aaron Pedersen—Mystery Road

Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama

  • Jada Alberts—Mystery Road
  • Rebecca Gibney—Halifax: Retribution
  • Asher Keddie—Stateless
  • Pamela Rabe—Wentworth
  • Yvonne Strahovski—Stateless

Best Comedy Performer

  • Milly Alcock—Upright
  • Anne Edmonds—At Home Alone Together
  • Luke McGregor—Rosehaven
  • Tim Minchin—Upright
  • Celia Pacquola—Rosehaven

Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama

  • Rob Collins—Mystery Road
  • Darren Gilshenan—Stateless
  • Damon Herriman—The Commons
  • Callan Mulvey—Mystery Road
  • Ed Oxenbould—Bloom

Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama

  • Cate Blanchett—Stateless
  • Jacqueline McKenzie—Bloom
  • Ngaire Pigram—Mystery Road
  • Tasma Walton—Mystery Road
  • Jacki Weaver—Bloom


Best Documentary

  • Brazen Hussies Catherine Dwyer (Dir.), Andrea Foxworthy, Philippa Campey—Film Camp
  • Brock: Over The Top Kriv Stenders (Dir.), Veronica Fury, Alan Erson, Ruby Schmidt—Wildbear Entertainment
  • Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky Steven McGregor (Dir.), Danielle Maclean, Anna Grieve, Steven Thomas—Tamarind Tree Pictures, Roar Film
  • Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra Nel Minchin (Dir.), Wayne Blair (Dir.), Ivan O’Mahoney—In Films
  • Slim & I Kriv Stenders (Dir.), Chris Brown, Aline Jacques, James Arneman—Slim & I Productions
  • Suzi Q Liam Firmager (Dir.), Tait Brady—The ACME Film Company

Best Documentary or Factual Program

  • Ambulance Australia Margaret Bashfield, Debbie Cuell, Matthew Tomszewski— Endemol Shine Australia (Network Ten)
  • Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge Jodie Boylan, David Galloway— Lune Media (ABC)
  • Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story Ian Collie, Rob Gibson, Francine Finnane, Mark Joffe —Easy Tiger Productions (Network Ten)
  • Maralinga Tjarutja Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey—Blackfella Films (ABC)
  • Murder in the Outback: The Falconio And Lees Mystery Andrew Farrell, Matt Campbell, Bethan Arwel-Lewis, Sophie Meyrick—CJZ (Seven Network)
  • Shaun Micallef’s On The Sauce Andrew Farrell, Shaun Micallef, Paula Bycroft, Matt Campbell—CJZ (ABC)

Nominations for the AACTA Byron Kennedy Award will also be announced in the coming weeks. Nominations for visual effects or animation, casting, hair and make-up, and the subscription television presenter category will be announced on Thursday 12 November.

This year’s reimagined AACTA Awards will be announced across two events:

Friday 27 November – previously referred to as the Industry Luncheon, the AACTA Industry Awards presented by Foxtel will this year be delivered online as part of AACTA’s new ScreenFest event, featuring more than 40 free screen events open to the public and industry.

Monday 30 November – the usual Ceremony at The Star Sydney will be held over two sittings with a reduced capacity adhering to a COVID safe plan. Highlights from the two ceremonies will be broadcast on Channel 7 on Wednesday 2 December.

TV Tonight is a partner of the 2020 AACTA Awards.

6 Responses

  1. A good mix of nominations there.

    Happy that Mystery Road and Bloom are both nominated for Best Drama. Happy that Halifax is there too. A good return for this show. The Heights, despite no one watching, is up too. It is a nice hidden gem.

    Nice new addition in the “Comedy Entertainment” award.

  2. For a change I am looking at the nominations and are like oh my god I so love them all. Very nice surprise to see Halifax nominated for drama series and best actress. Who knew the Heights would get up there. At Home Alone Together hahahaa for those who hated it at least it got two nominations

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