AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role

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Best Actor in a Leading Role
Presented byAustralian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA)
First awarded1972
Currently held byAustin Butler, Elvis (2022)

The AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role is an award presented by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), a non-profit organisation whose aim is to "identify, award, promote and celebrate Australia's greatest achievements in film and television."[1] The award is presented at the annual AACTA Awards, which hand out accolades for achievements in feature film, television, documentaries and short films.[2] From 1971 to 2010, the category was presented by the Australian Film Institute (AFI), the Academy's parent organisation, at the annual Australian Film Institute Awards (known as the AFI Awards).[3] When the AFI launched the Academy in 2011, it changed the annual ceremony to the AACTA Awards, with the current award being a continuation of the AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.[3]

From 1971 up until 1975, the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress were awarded in a single category for Best Performance.[4][5] In 1971 the prize was given to Monica Maughan over fellow nominee Peter Cummins, who received a special mention for his performances in the films Some Regrets, The Hot Centre of the World (1971 short film), Bonjour Balwyn and Carson's Watermelons. From 1972 to 1975, the single award was handed out to the best actor and actress of the respective award giving years, with honourable mentions made to supporting casts. From 1976 to the present, the accolade has been handed out as a separate award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Candidates for this award must be human and male, and cannot be nominated for the same role in the supporting actor category.[6]

Winners & nominations[edit]

Year Actor Film Role
1972 Bruce Spence Stork Graham 'Stork' Wallace
1973 Robert McDarra 27A Bill
1974 N/A N/A N/A
1975 Jack Thompson Sunday Too Far Away Foley
Martin Vaughan Billy and Percy Billy Hughes
1976 Simon Burke The Devil's Playground Tom Allen
Nick Tate Brother Victor
Arthur Dignam The Devil's Playground Brother Francine
George Mallaby End Play Robert Gifford
1977 John Meillon The Fourth Wish Casey
Noel Ferrier Eliza Fraser Captain James Fraser
David Gulpilil Storm Boy Fingerbone Bill
John Meillon The Picture Show Man Mr. Pym
1978 Bill Hunter Newsfront Len Maguire
Richard Chamberlain The Last Wave David Burton
Robert Helpmann The Mango Tree The Professor
John Waters Weekend of Shadows Rabbit
1979 Mel Gibson Tim Tim Melville
Alan Cassell Cathy's Child Dick Wordley
Richard Moir In Search of Anna Tony
Michael Preston The Last of the Knucklemen Pansy
1980 Jack Thompson Breaker Morant Capt. Alfred Taylor
Bryan Brown Stir China Jackson
Max Phipps Norton
Edward Woodward Breaker Morant Lt. Harry "Breaker" Morant
1981 Mel Gibson Gallipoli Frank Dunne
John Hargreaves Hoodwink Martin Stang
Graham Kennedy The Club Ted Parker
Mark Lee Gallipoli Archy Hamilton
1982 Ray Barrett Goodbye Paradise Michael Stacy
Vince Colosimo Moving Out Gino
Norman Kaye Lonely Hearts Peter Thompson
William Henry Kerr Dusty Tom Lincoln
1983 Norman Kaye Man of Flowers Charles Bremer
Mel Gibson The Year of Living Dangerously Guy Hamilton
Nicholas Gledhill Careful, He Might Hear You PS
Martin Vaughan Phar Lap Harry Telford
1984 John Hargreaves My First Wife John
Drew Forsythe Annie's Coming Out David
Chris Haywood Strikebound Wattie Doig
Ivar Kants Silver City Julian
1985 Chris Haywood A Street to Die Colin Turner
John Clayton Unfinished Business Geoff
Richard Moir An Indecent Obsession Luce Daggett
Barry Otto Bliss Harry Joy
1986 Colin Friels Malcolm Malcolm Hughes
Reb Brown Death of a Soldier Pvt. Edward J. Leonski
Robert Menzies Cactus Robert
Barry Otto The More Things Change... Lex
1987 Leo McKern Travelling North Frank
Bryan Brown The Umbrella Woman Sonny Hills
Colin Friels Ground Zero Harvey Denton
Noah Taylor The Year My Voice Broke Danny
1988 John Waters Boulevard of Broken Dreams Tom Garfield
Mark Lee The Everlasting Secret Family Youth
Hamish McFarlane The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey Griffin
Sean Scully Phobia David Simmons
1989 Sam Neill Evil Angels Michael Chamberlain
Mike Bishop Ghosts… of the Civil Dead David Yale
John Hargreaves Emerald City Colin
Chris Haywood Island Janis
1990 Max von Sydow Father Joe Muller
Russell Crowe The Crossing Johnny
Frankie J. Holden Return Home Steve
Ben Mendelsohn The Big Steal Danny Clark
1991 Hugo Weaving Proof Martin
Colin Friels Dingo John Anderson
Ben Mendelsohn Spotswood Carey
Sam Neill Death in Brunswick Carl Fitzgerald
1992 Russell Crowe Romper Stomper Hando
Lothaire Bluteau Black Robe LaForgue
Bruno Ganz The Last Days of Chez Nous JP
Paul Mercurio Strictly Ballroom Scott Hastings
1993 Harvey Keitel The Piano George Baines
Matthew Ferguson On My Own Simon Henderson
Anthony LaPaglia The Custodian Det. Sgt. James Quinlan
John Moore Blackfellas Doug Dooligan
1994 Nicholas Hope Bad Boy Bubby Bubby
John Hargreaves Country Life Jack Dickens
Terence Stamp The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Ralph Waite/Bernadette Bassinger
Hugo Weaving Anthony "Tick" Belrose/Mitzi Del Bra
1995 John Lynch Angel Baby Harry
John Jarratt All Men Are Liars Barry
John Moore The Life of Harry Dare Harry Dare
Aden Young Metal Skin Joe
1996 Geoffrey Rush Shine Adult David Helfgott
John Brumpton Life Des
Noah Taylor Shine Adolescent David Helfgott
Aden Young River Street Ben Egan
1997 Richard Roxburgh Doing Time for Patsy Cline Boyd
Michael Caton The Castle Darryl Kerrigan
Matt Day Kiss or Kill Al Fletcher
Jeremy Sims Idiot Box Mick
1998 Hugo Weaving The Interview Eddie Rodney Fleming
Ray Barrett In the Winter Dark Maurice Stubbs
Alex Dimitriades Head On Ari
David Wenham The Boys Brett Sprague
1999 Russell Dykstra Soft Fruit Bo
Hugh Jackman Erskineville Kings Wace
Heath Ledger Two Hands Jimmy
Richard Roxburgh Passion Percy Grainger
2000 Eric Bana Chopper Mark "Chopper" Read
Steve Bastoni 15 Amore Alfredo
David Wenham Better Than Sex Josh
Sam Worthington Bootmen Mitchell Okden
2001 Anthony LaPaglia Lantana Leon Zat
Ewan McGregor Moulin Rouge! Christian
Ben Mendelsohn Mullet Eddie 'Mullet' Maloney
David Wenham The Bank Jim Doyle
2002 David Gulpilil The Tracker The Tracker
Vince Colosimo Walking on Water Charlie
Geoffrey Rush Swimming Upstream Harold Fingleton
David Wenham Molokai Father Damien
2003 David Wenham Gettin' Square Johnny Francis 'Spit' Spitieri
Heath Ledger Ned Kelly Ned Kelly
Timothy Spall Gettin' Square Darren 'Dabba' Barrington
Gotaro Tsunashima Japanese Story Hiromitsu Tachibana
2004 Sam Worthington Somersault Joe
Colin Friels Tom White Tom White
Kevin Harrington The Honourable Wally Norman Wally Norman
Dan Spielman One Perfect Day Tommy Matisse
2005 Hugo Weaving Little Fish Lionel Dawson
William McInnes Look Both Ways Nick
Guy Pearce The Proposition Charlie Burns
Ray Winstone Captain Morris Stanley
2006 Shane Jacobson Kenny Kenny Smyth
Gabriel Byrne Jindabyne Stewart
Heath Ledger Candy Dan
Steve Le Marquand Last Train to Freo The tall thug
2007 Eric Bana Romulus, My Father Romulus
Brendan Cowell Noise Graham McGahan
Qi Yuwu The Home Song Stories Joe
Kodi Smit-McPhee Romulus, My Father Raimond
2008 William McInnes Unfinished Sky John Woldring
Guy Pearce Death Defying Acts Harry Houdini
David Roberts The Square Raymond Yale
Rhys Wakefield The Black Balloon Thomas Mollison
2009 Anthony LaPaglia Balibo Roger East
Rowan McNamara Samson and Delilah Samson
Ben Mendelsohn Beautiful Kate Ned Kendall
Hugo Weaving Last Ride Kev
2010 Ben Mendelsohn Animal Kingdom Andrew 'Pope' Cody
Brendan Cowell Beneath Hill 60 Oliver Woodward
James Frecheville Animal Kingdom Joshua 'J' Cody
Clive Owen The Boys Are Back Joe Warr
AACTA Awards
Daniel Henshall Snowtown John Bunting
Willem Dafoe The Hunter Martin David
Geoffrey Rush The Eye of the Storm Basil Hunter
David Wenham Oranges and Sunshine Len
Chris O'Dowd The Sapphires Dave Lovelace
Joel Edgerton Wish You Were Here Dave Flannery
Matthew Goode Burning Man Tom
Guy Pearce 33 Postcards Dean Randall
Leonardo DiCaprio The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby
Sitthiphon Disamoe The Rocket Ahlo
Ewen Leslie Dead Europe Isaac
Hugo Weaving The Turning Bob Lang
David Gulpilil Charlie's Country Charlie
Russell Crowe The Water Diviner Joshua Connor
Damon Herriman The Little Death Dan
Guy Pearce The Rover Eric
(5th) [7]
Michael Caton Last Cab to Darwin Rex
Patrick Brammall Ruben Guthrie Ruben Guthrie
Ryan Corr Holding the Man Timothy Conigrave
Sullivan Stapleton Cut Snake Pommie
Andrew Garfield Hacksaw Ridge Desmond Doss
John Brumpton Pawno Les Underwood
Damian Hill Danny Williamson
Ewen Leslie The Daughter Oliver
Sunny Pawar Lion Young Saroo Brierley
Stephen Curry Hounds of Love John White
Ewen Leslie The Butterfly Tree Al
Osamah Sami Ali's Wedding Ali
Hamilton Morris Sweet Country Sam Kelly
Ryan Corr 1% President Paddo
Lucas Hedges Boy Erased Jared Eamons
Damian Hill West of Sunshine Jim
Daniel Monks Pulse Olly
Damon Herriman Judy and Punch Punch
Timothée Chalamet The King King Henry V
Baykali Ganambarr The Nightingale "Billy" Mangala
Dev Patel Hotel Mumbai Arjun
Hugo Weaving Hearts and Bones Dan Fisher
Toby Wallace Babyteeth Moses
George MacKay True History of the Kelly Gang Ned Kelly
Sam Neill Rams Colin
Richard Roxburgh H is for Happiness Jim Phee
Hugo Weaving Measure for Measure Duke
Caleb Landry Jones Nitram Nitram
Simon Baker High Ground Travis
Eric Bana The Dry Aaron Falk
Ahmed Malek The Furnace Hanif
Jacob Junior Nayinggul High Ground Gutjuk
Austin Butler Elvis Elvis Presley
Rob Collins The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Yadaka
Joel Edgerton The Stranger Mark Frame
Idris Elba Three Thousand Years of Longing The Djinn
Damon Herriman Nude Tuesday Bruno


  1. ^ "AACTA – The Academy". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  2. ^ "AACTA – The Academy – The Awards". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b "AACTA – The Academy – Background". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Retrieved 23 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ French, Lisa; Poole, Mark (2009). Shining a Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute. Australian Teachers of Media. p. 27. ISBN 1-876467-20-7.
  5. ^ 1971–1975 awards:
  6. ^ "Part2: Rule 5.6 – Special Conditions for Feature Film; Special Rules for Acting Awards" (PDF). 2013 AACTA Awards Rule Book. Australian Film Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Past Awards - AACTA". www.aacta.org. Retrieved 20 April 2018.

External links[edit]