The film Bran Nue Dae was the big winner at last night’s Deadly Awards, which celebrate Indigenous achievements in entertainment, music, sport and the community.
The musical movie, which grossed $7 million at the box office, was named Film of the Year and its lead Rocky McKenzie hailed Male Actor of the Year, while Deborah Mailman beat her co-star Jessica Mauboy to claim the award for Female Actor of the Year.
Singer-songwriter Dan Sultan, who also starred in Bran Nue Dae, picked up two awards for Male Artist of the Year and Single Release of the Year for his song Letter.
But the 27-year-old was beaten to the title of Album Release of the Year after Archie Roach’s sixth studio album, 1988, was awarded the gong.
Both musicians played at a lavish ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night. Other performers included Christine Anu, Frank Yamma and the Bangarra Dance Theatre.
The show was hosted by actor Luke Carroll and pop singer Naomi Wenitong – the former Shakaya star also receiving a Deadly for Female Artist of the Year and her hip-hop outfit Last Kinection commended for Outstanding Achievement in RnB and Hip Hop.
In a good year for new Indigenous music, The Medics was named Band of the Year and Busby Marou heralded the Most Promising New Talent in Music.
Across other arts, Anita Heiss was recognised for Outstanding Achievement in Literature for her book Manhattan Dreaming, Dancer of the Year went to Yolande Brown, and Walangari Karntawarra was voted Visual Artist of the Year.
TV awards went to the ABC’s Message Stick (Television Show of the Year) and NRL legend Wendell Sailor was voted Television Personality of the Year for his work on The Footy Show.
Sporting awards were presented to rugby league players Jamal Idris and Ben Barba, the AFL’s Nathan Lovett-Murray and netball star Josie Janz.
More than 29,000 votes were cast for the 16th annual Deadly Awards and the 2010 ceremony will be a tough act to follow, according to executive producer Gavin Jones.
“Each year the show is one not to be missed and mainstream Australia is now recognising the worth of the Deadly Awards,” he said.
“The Deadlys deliver a strong and healthy message to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community – that, hopefully, is an inspiration to young Indigenous Australians, indeed Indigenous Australians across the country.”
The Deadlys will be broadcast on SBS on Sunday, October 3, at 10.30pm and Wednesday, October 6, at 8.30pm on SBS Two.