Cate Blanchett, Mandy Walker Celebrate at Australian Oscars Nominee Reception

Cate Blanchett wore gold sequins and “Elvis” filmmaker Baz Luhrmann directed a group photo shoot at the Australian Oscars Nominees Reception held Thursday night in Hollywood at the Chateau Marmont penthouse.

The guest list also included Oscar nominees from “Elvis,” including Luhrmann, DP Mandy Walker, costume designer Catherine Martin and producers Gail Berman, Schuyler Weiss and Patrick McCormick. Also joining in the festivities was filmmaker Lachlan Pendragon, director of “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It,” which is nominated for best animated short film. The event was hosted by Australian Consul-General Los Angeles Ambassador Jane Duke, Ausfilm, Screen Australia and Australians in Film (AiF)

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Duke said the event is “a great opportunity to support and celebrate the Australian screen community’s creative brilliance and success, which has been recognized over many decades.”

She continued, “This year’s Academy Awards is no exception, with 12 Australians nominated across nine categories – a testament to their incredible talent and Australia’s capability in film-making. Catherine Martin is the most Awarded Australian at the Oscars. With some 196 Oscar nominations and 58 wins since the Oscars began in 1929, Australia has had outsized impact and global influence in the entertainment industry. Bringing this community together amplifies their collective achievements as fantastic ambassadors for the screen sector and for Australia.”

Cate Blanchett and Mandy Walker
Cate Blanchett and Mandy Walker

Walker made history earlier this week by becoming the first woman to receive the American Society of Cinematographers Award in the feature competition for “Elvis.” If she also wins the Oscar, she will be the first female DP to do so. Walker told Variety she was still “pinching myself” over the ASC win. As for the Oscars, she said, “I’m nervous, I’m excited. But I’m just really proud to be there.”

Walker added that she always enjoys attending a celebration of Australian talent. “I love seeing all the other Aussies when I’m here. I can’t believe it’s such a small population and that we’ve done so well,” she noted, particularly in the cinematography category. Just last year, both Greig Frasier (“Dune”) and Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”) were nominated in the category, with Frasier taking home the gold. She also cited such Oscar winners as Russell Boyd (“Master and Commander: Far Side of the World”), Dean Semler (“Dances with Wolves”) and John Seale (“The English Patient”) as some of her mentors who have reached out with regards.

So why is Australia such a great source of talent? Duke has some thoughts on the matter. “Government investment in the arts in a variety of ways assists Australia in producing remarkable talent,” she noted. “There is support for creative learning institutions, such as the National Institute of Dramatic Art with alumni that includes this year’s nominees Cate Blanchett and Baz Luhrmann and the Australian Film and Television School that Oscar winners Jane Campion and Dion Beebe attended.”

She continued, “Through Screen Australia, the Government supports people and projects in development and production across film, television, online and games. Ongoing government investment in attracting international productions to Australia has also supported and stimulated fulfilling careers in screen. Australians are known in the entertainment industry for being hardworking, collegiate, and getting the job done, and our innate cultural characteristics like curiosity and interest in the world are assets for success.”

After dining on appetizers and cocktails with a stunning view of Los Angeles, guests were gifted with a copy of the book “Red Carpet: Oscars,” courtesy of Thames & Hudson, for which Blanchett wrote the foreword.

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