Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Australians in Film
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Wednesday night’s Australians in Film Awards opened its seventh annual show, with a surprise performance from Australian rapper, Briggs. Hosted by Josh Lawson (‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’), the Oct.24 event took place at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The fundraiser honored top talent such as comedian Hannah Gadsby and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star, Damon Herriman.

“I bring Australian elements into everything I do and I’m very happy to do it,” Bruna Papandrea told AXS just before the show. The executive producer of HBO’s Emmy-winning “Big Little Lies” was proud to be there in support of Herriman, who took home the Qantas Orry-Kelly International Award, which he received from his “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” co-star, Timothy Olyphant. 

Gadsby's Netflix special, “Nanette,” helped earn her international recognition in 2018. She was honored with the NSW Annette Kellerman Award presented with VOGUE Australia. Monica Lewinsky was there to deliver the award to the comic. “The show came from a deeply painful place and I did not expect it to do much,” Gadsby said upon her win. “I expected the show to peel me off into the margins by telling my truth so brutally, but I have been so overwhelmed by how positively the show has been received and how connected I am to the world in a way that I never knew how honestly disconnected I was. It is a great honor to be welcomed into Australians in Film, I am sure I will fit right in and I am currently working on a film version of ‘Nanette.’ Damon [Herriman] is playing Nanette; I am hoping Cate Blanchett will play me.”

Other 2018 honorees included Keiynan Lonsdale (Screen Australia Breakthrough Award), Lee Smith (The Fox Studios Australia International Award), and Mark Johnson (The Ausfilm International Award). Eliza Scanlen, who couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict, was also recognized with the Screen Australia Breakthrough Award.

Along with Olyphant and Lewinsky, presenters included Simon Kinberg (producer of ‘Deadpool'/'The Twilight Zone'), Debra Richards (CEO of Ausfilm), and Daniel Webber (‘Danger Close’). Webber will be taking on the role of Vince Neil in the upcoming Mötley Crüe movie, “The Dirt.” The actor recalls booking the job and then running out to buy every album of theirs he could find. “After that, it was a process of just watching hours and hours of Vince and the guys performing,” he tells AXS. “The film is based on their book, The Dirt, [Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band] so that was the real resource to go from. It’s really a no-holds-barred look at what they got into. We tried to mirror that as much as possible,” he shared about the movie.

Webber’s “Danger Close” co-star, Luke Bracey, was also in attendance. Other special guests on hand were Danielle Macdonald (‘Patti Cake$’), Gia Carides (‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’), Kate Ledger (Mintie Moo Productions/AiF board member) Kate Marks (Ausfilm/AiF board member), Natasha Bassett (Britney Ever After’), Taika Waititi (director of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’), Sam Worthington (‘Avatar’), and Suze DeMarchi (Baby Animals singer), among others.