There were laughs and tears during a night of celebration as Australia’s acting and filmmaking elite were honoured at the 8th Annual Australians in Film Awards Gala in Los Angeles
Naomi Watts pondered out loud whether she was an Aussie, Brit or American while Vin Diesel revealed how Ruby Rose helped fill a hole in his heart.
Other award winners and VIPs at the event included Isla Fisher, Sarah Snook, Rachel Perkins, Jason Clarke and Phillip Noyce.
Two-time Oscar nominee Watts, who received the Orry-Kelly Award, joked about her Australian-UK-US identity crisis.
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The AiF Awards Gala and Benefit Dinner tonight. Naomi Watts, Ruby Rose, Sarah Snook, Dacre Montgomery and Rachel Perkins among this year’s recipients. ‘Great Mate’ initiative launched by Nicole Kidman, philanthropist Monica Saunders-Weinberg and her husband Rich Weinberg to further support Australian filmmakers’ successes and wins internationally. The awards support AiFs non-profit mission to usher 🇦🇺 Australian talent into the international market and provide educational and career development programs including the highly successful creative work sharing space 🎩 Charlies in Hollywood and The Heath Ledger Scholarship 🤝The Awards are presented by @ausfilm_international @screenaustralia and @creatensw Gala Supporting Partners; @AnimalLogicEntertainment @BirdinHand ✈️ Official airline partner: @qantas 🏨 Official Hotel partner: @thestandard 🎥 Media partners: @gqaustralia @vogueaustralia 🙌 Event partners: @penfolds and @littlecreatures_usa @mrBlack @bluestonelane Event Producers @kintucreative Photographers: @gettyimages @mac1photo #ausfilm #screenaustralia #creatensw #qantas #penfolds #birdinhand #littlecreatures #australiansinfilm #actress #awards #awardsnight #redcarpet #awardwinner #aussiesofinstagram #aussiefilm #australianfilm #aussiesinhollywood #aussiesinla #aussieactor #australianactors #australianfilmmakers #anthonymaras #gala #hotelmumbai #director #breakthroughaward
The 51-year-old was born in England, moved to Australia when she was 14 and at the age of 24 moved to the US.
When she is asked about her nationality Watts says she has a hard time coming up with an answer.
“You’re probably thinking ‘What is she doing here (at the Australians in Film Awards)?’,” she joked to the audience.
“How did she get this award? Maybe Cate (Blanchett) and Nicole (Kidman) weren’t available, I guess.”
Adding to her confusion, the Australian government did not approve Watts’ application for a passport.
“I have applied for a passport more than once and been denied,” Watts said to laughter.
Vin Diesel, who starred alongside Rose in the 2017 action film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, presented Rose with the Create NSW Annette Kellerman Award.
Diesel said Rose helped him in the aftermath of the death of his good friend and Fast and Furious co-star Paul Walker.
“Never in a million years could I have imagined that the hole in my heart would be filled by this actress,” Diesel said.
Screen Australia Breakthrough Awards were presented to Succession star Snook, Hotel Mumbai director Anthony Maras and Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery.
Noyce presented director Perkins with the inaugural Animal Logic Entertainment Illuminate Award.
AiF also launched the “Great Mate” initiative designed to encourage successful Australian filmmakers and creatives to support the next generation of Australians hoping to make it big in Hollywood.
The initiative was founded by Nicole Kidman, Monica Saunders-Weinberg and Rich Weinberg.