The love story landed the ultimate honour, the Best Film nod, as well as trophies for Best Original Screenplay and Best Direction.
The movie’s writer/director, Warwick Thornton, accepted the awards, telling the crowd in Melbourne, Australia, “It’s hard work, it’s b**ody hard work, there is no mucking around. Be careful what you write, you might just have to direct it.”
The child stars of the movie, Marissa Gibson and Rowan McNamara, also shared the Young Actor accolade – and Thornton heaped praise on them, adding: “We put Marissa and Rowan into these lights and part of the deal is to look after them, whatever they want to do, until they know what they want to do and they can separate themselves from us.”
Anthony LaPaglia won the Best Actor award for his role in Balibo, a drama about the death of an Australian journalist. The movie’s co-writers David Williamson and Robert Connolly won the film a further honour, Best Adapted Screenplay.
Despite being honoured for six awards, Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia only won the one, for highest grossing film. It garnered $211 million (£132 million) at the worldwide box office.
Gangster drama Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities took home three awards including Best Television Screenplay, and Rachel Griffiths landed the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Beautiful Kate.