AACTA Awards 2020: winners

ABC drama Stateless has swept the TV categories at the 2020 AACTAs.

ABC drama Stateless has emerged as the big success story of the 2020 AACTA Awards ceremony, hosted last night by Tom Gleeson.

Produced by Matchbox Pictures the series won a total of 13 Awards including Best Telefeature or Miniseries, Best Screenplay in Television and all four acting Awards across television drama.

Other wins went to Mystery Road, Upright, Mad as Hell, Gogglebox, MasterChef, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Bluey and Murder in the Outback: The Falconio And Lees Mystery.

Michael Carrington, ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist, said, “Stateless didn’t pull any punches in its depiction of life inside an Australian immigration detention centre and I am ecstatic to see such brave and compelling storytelling celebrated on the national stage.

“The ABC is the creative voice of Australia, investing in more homegrown drama than any other broadcaster. Programs such as Mystery Road, Bluey and Mad As Hell exemplify the wonderful diversity of this country, showcasing Australian faces, stories, humour and landscapes. Congratulations to all our award-winning programs, people and partners for delivering such unashamedly Australian content to audiences every day.”

MasterChef Australia judge, Melissa Leong, said: “We are blown away by the reception we’ve been given as the new guard. With this year has come an avalanche of the unexpected, which makes us even more grateful for how warmly the MasterChef Australia audience has welcomed us into their homes. We feel most fortunate to continue to celebrate great food, people and stories on this most magical of shows”.

Brian Walsh, Foxtel Executive Director of Television, said: “I would like to congratulate Tim and all the cast and creatives from Upright on these well-deserved wins.  We are so honoured to have worked with this infinitely talented team and proud to have commissioned this landmark comedy that explores the universal themes of family and unlikely friendships through the lens of two flawed souls thrown together by fate.

Upright is such a unique Australian narrative, and we’re delighted to see it continue to resonate with audiences both locally and around the world.  Upright joins an impressive slate of award-winning Australian series produced for Foxtel over the past 25 years, with more to come in 2021 including the upcoming drama The End and newly announced series The Twelve.

The event included Tim Minchin’s performing Carry You from the final episode of Upright and an In Memoriam with a performance from Swing On This members Matt Lee and Ben Mingay, paying tribute to their late member Michael Falzon and those we have lost.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said “COVID has been an enormous challenge for everyone but it has also highlighted just how critical our screen industry is to audiences around the world. We have turned to the local entertainment industry to keep us informed and entertained, with the work of our creative industry valued by audiences more than ever before. It has been a great pleasure to be able to gather tonight, albeit in smaller numbers than we are used to, to celebrate the outstanding productions of 2020 across television, film, documentary and the ever evolving, exciting online space.”

Winners in bold:


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

AACTA Award for Best Direction in A Television Drama or Comedy

  • Australian Amazon Original Stand-Up Specials Anne Edmonds: What’s Wrong With You Simon Francis
  • Mystery Road Episode 4– Broken Wayne Blair
  • Mystery Road Episode 6– What You Do Now Warwick Thornton
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Emma Freeman
  • Stateless Episode 6 – The Seventh Jocelyn Moorhouse

AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television

  • The Commons Episode 1 Shelley Birse
  • First Day Episode 1 Julie Kalceff
  • Mystery Road Episode 4– Broken Kodie Bedford
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Peter Duncan
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Elise McCredie, Belinda Chayko

AACTA Award for Best Subscription Television Presenter

  • Shaynna Blaze Selling Houses Australia
  • Deborah Hutton Find Me A Beach House
  • Tyson Mayr Bear Koala Hero
  • Rebel Wilson LOL: Last One Laughing Australia
  • Andrew Winter Selling Houses Australia / Love It or List It Australia

AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television                                   

  • Australia’s Ocean Odyssey: A Journey Down the East Australian Current Episode 1 – The Tropics Nick Robinson
  • Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story Episode 2 Mark Joffe
  • Love On The Spectrum Episode 1 Cian O’Clery
  • Maralinga Tjarutja Larissa Behrendt
  • The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team Episode 8 – A New Legacy Adrian Brown

AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television

  • The Commons Episode 1 Earle Dresner
  • The Gloaming Episode 4 – Black Winged Angels Marden Dean
  • Mystery Road Episode 4– Broken Warwick Thornton
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Martin McGrath
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Bonnie Elliott

AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television

  • Mystery Road Episode 6– What You Do Now Nicholas Holmes
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Mark Perry
  • The Secrets She Keeps Episode 1 Deborah Peart, James Manché
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Mark Atkin
  • Stateless Episode 6 – The Seventh Martin Connor

AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television

  • Bluey Episode 24 – Flatpack Joff Bush
  • Itch Episode 10 – 376 Down Diego Baldenweg, Nora Baldenweg, Lionel Baldenweg
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Antony Partos
  • Rosehaven Episode 8 Kit Warhurst
  • Stateless Episode 6 – The Seventh Cornel Wilczek 

AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television

  • The Gloaming Episode 4 – Black Winged Angels Dean Ryan, Andrew Neil, Ralph Ortner, Lee Yee
  • Halifax: Retribution Episode 3 Paul Pirola, Brendan Croxon, James Harvey, Andrew Ramage
  • Mystery Road Episode 4– Broken Wes Chew, Luke Mynott, Michael Newton, Trevor Hope
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Luke Mynott, Wes Chew, Guntis Sics
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Tom Heuzenroeder, Pete Smith, Michael Darren, Des Kenneally

AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television

  • The Commons Episode 1 Tim Ferrier
  • Mystery Road Episode 6 – What You Do Now Herbert Pinter
  • The New Legends of Monkey Episode 10 – Shadow Boxing Nick Williams
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Colin Gibson
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Melinda Doring

AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television

  • The Commons Episode 1 Xanthe Heubel
  • The Masked Singer Episode 4 Tim Chappel
  • The New Legends of Monkey Episode 10 – Shadow Boxing Liz Mcgregor
  • Operation Buffalo Episode 4 Wendy Cork
  • Stateless Episode 1 – The Circumstances in Which They Come Mariot Kerr

AACTA Award for Best Casting Presented By Casting Networks

  • Babyteeth Kirsty McGregor, Stevie Ray
  • H Is for Happiness Jane Norris
  • I Am Woman Nikki Barrett
  • Stateless Allison Meadows
  • True History Of The Kelly Gang Nikki Barrett

AACTA Award for Best Hair and Makeup Presented By Hask

  • I Am Woman Nikki Gooley, Wendy De Waal, Cassie O’Brien
  • Operation Buffalo Sheldon Wade
  • Preacher Episode 8 – Fear of The Lord Chiara Tripodi, Larry Van Duynhoven, Toni Ffrench
  • Relic Angela Conte, Larry Van Duynhoven, Bec Taylor
  • True History of The Kelly Gang Kirsten Veysey


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)

AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in A Documentary

  • Australia’s Ocean Odyssey: A Journey Down the East Australian Current Episode 1 – The Tropics Nick Robinson, Jon Shaw, Caspar Mazzotti, Cam Batten
  • Revelation Episode 1 – The Children Have Been Used By The Devil Aaron Smith
  • Sea Lions – Life By A Whisker Jon Shaw, Cam Batten, Tim Nagle, David Gross
  • The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team Episode 7 – Under Siege Andre Mauger, Oliver West
  • Viva The Underdogs Allan Hardy, Cam Pianta

AACTA Award for Best Editing in A Documentary

  • Can Art Stop A Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture Daniela Raulli
  • Firestarter – The Story Of Bangarra Nick Meyers, Karen Johnson
  • Maralinga Tjarutja Jane Usher
  • Revelation Episode 3 –Goliath Philippa Rowlands
  • The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team Episode 7 – Under Siege Adam Wright

AACTA Award for Best Original Score in A Documentary

  • Australia’s Ocean Odyssey: A Journey Down The East Australian Current Episode 1 – The Tropics Hylton Mowday
  • Brazen Hussies Amanda Brown
  • Guy Sebastian – The Man The Music Guy Sebastian
  • Machine Matteo Zingales
  • Quilty – Painting The Shadows Amanda Brown, Damien Lane

AACTA Award for Best Sound in A Documentary

  • Brazen Hussies Emma Bortignon, Simon Rosenberg, Jed Palmer, Guy Blackman
  • Can Art Stop A Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture David Muir, Mark Street, Doron Kipen
  • Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra Angus Robertson, Tara Webb, Leah Katz, Nick Meyers
  • Suzi Q Emma Bortignon, Paul Shanahan, David Williams, Gemma Stack
  • Wild Things Michael Gissing, Antony Partos, Matteo Zingales

Highlights from the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony will be included in AACTA’s Best of the Decade: Australia Decides – a reimagined broadcast celebrating a decade of Australian screen on Seven, Wednesday 2 December at 8.30pm AEDT and on Foxtel Arts, Sunday 6 December at 9.30pm AEDT.

TV Tonight is a partner of the AACTA Awards.

Photos: Getty

5 Responses

  1. To answer 2 questions below. Wednesday night broadcast has the Audience Choice winners from a recent survey plus highlights of the AACTA ceremonies. This was done because it was deemed there would not be enough footage from the ceremonies.

    1. No worries, it’s just that AACTA initially said that the short list for the Audience Choice poll was to be announced ahead of tomorrow night’s winners, I thought that I must have missed that announcement of the short list. Maybe they decided not to do it and just go straight to announcing the winners.

  2. Did AACTA ever release the short list of nominations for the Audience Choice awards? I thought they were being announced at the industry awards event on the 27th? Or will they just go straight to announcing the winners tomorrow night?

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