Underworld movie leads Australian film nominations

Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:11am EDT
 
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian movie about a dysfunctional family immersed in a city's underworld is leading the field for Australia's top annual film awards, garnering a record 18 nominations including best film.

Organizers of the 2010 AFI (Australian Film Institute) awards said on Wednesday that "Animal Kingdom," the debut movie for director David Michod, received nominations across all the categories for which it was eligible.

The film, conceived by Michod while he was studying in the city of Melbourne almost 10 years ago, has already won recognition on the international stage, becoming the first Australian film to win the prestigious World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

"Animal Kingdom," starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford and Jacki Weaver, has been compared to British crime films of the past decade with numerous twists and turns.

It tells the story of an alienated teenage boy who moves into the Melbourne home of his grandmother and once there, follows the path of his volatile uncles into a world of robbery, drug-dealing and murder while also being pursued by the police.

Also in the line-up for best film are "Beneath Hill 60," which received 12 nominations in total, "Bright Star" by director Jane Campion, "The Tree" directed by Julie Bertuccelli, and "Tomorrow When The War Began" by Andrew Mason and Michael Boughen, and "Bran Nue Dae" -- an adaptation of the musical of the same name.

"This year the AFI have again announced six nominees instead of the traditional four for the 2010 Samsung Mobile AFI Award for Best Film, to celebrate the strength and diversity of Australian film on offer," the AFI said in a statement.

The AFI awards will be announced on Dec 10 and December 11.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Elaine Lies)