They’ve taken their joyful musical to Cannes, Toronto, London and all around Australia, and last night the stars of The Sapphires debuted their award-winning movie to an American audience. Leading man Chris O’Dowd was reunited with Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and director Wayne Blair at a screening in NYC last night that was hosted by Harvey Weinstein — his Weinstein Company is distributing the crowd pleasing film in the US on Mar. 29. Following the screening, the stars put on a cute performance to further entertain the guests. At the end of the night Jessica posted on Instagram, “Thanks and much love to #theweinsteincompany for giving this film life to the world love from all #thesapphires team!”
The red carpet was rolled out in front of The Star in Sydney for the second annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards last night. The festivities kicked off in the afternoon as the country’s brightest film and TV stars posed for photos and chatted to media on their way into the ceremony. Most of the buzz surrounded The Sapphires, which many actors said they loved — the film, which was up for the most honours, ended up winning 11 of the 12 awards it was nominated for. It was also a successful year for home-grown TV, with plenty of celebrities sharing their love for Puberty Blues.
As for the talent, it was a mix of high-profile Aussies and locally-loved stars who added to the glamour of the event. Cate Blanchett was a vision in red sequinned Armani while Nicole Kidman, who was lovingly greeted at the airport that morning by husband Keith Urban, opted for strapless Erdem. The young stars of Puberty Blues — Brenna Harding, Ashleigh Cummings, Isabelle Cornish, Charlotte Best and Sean Keenan — were out in force and hung out with their onscreen parents, Dan Wylie, Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor and Susie Porter. Visiting Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton brought some international star power to the proceedings, and The Sapphires’ Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens and director Wayne Blair made their entrance together. Rounding out the arrivals was Joel Edgerton, who escorted his reported fiancée Alexis Blake on the way in.
The 2013 AACTA Awards gathered Australia’s leading film and TV talent last night — it was the first time Hollywood heavyweights Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and host Russell Crowe have been in the same room at the same time — but there was one cinematic gem that shone brightest of all. The Sapphires, a favourite with international moviegoers since its standing ovation at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and a home-grown hit, celebrated six wins in all the major film categories. The successful night started when Deborah Mailman won best lead actress and continued through to Jessica Mauboy’s win for best supporting actress. After receiving the award from Nicole Kidman, a shaky and emotional Jess took to the podium and said, “I feel I really don’t deserve this, I mean it. Thank you so much Deb, for being my sidekick, and [director] Wayne [Blair] for kicking my butt and making me cry on set. Thank you so much.” She later returned to the stage to perform for the star-studded audience.
More highlights from the AACTA Awards when you keep reading.
It was a night that saw The Sapphires shine after a year of critical and commercial success. The Australian musical drama that wowed the world at Cannes in 2012 scooped six AACTA Awards last night, including honours for director Wayne Blair, stars Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy and Chris O’Dowd, and the ceremony’s biggest award for best film. It means The Sapphires won 11 awards in total when combined with their wins at the AACTA Awards Luncheon on Monday. In the TV categories, beloved series Puberty Blues beat Redfern Now for best television drama series, and Howzat! Kerry Packer's War took out the best telefeatures or mini series category.
Other big winners included Rake leading actor Richard Roxburgh, Redfern Now’s Leah Purcell, The Amazing Race Australia for the inaugural best reality television series category, and original screenplay and best supporting actor honours for Wish You Were Here.
See the full list of winners after the break.
What a week! It started off on a bit of a sad note, with news of Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer's split breaking on Monday — he was spotted just two days later on the set of his new film, Noah. On happier notes, though, there were plenty of parties and cute romances playing right under our noses — the Elle Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration drew as big a crowd as ever, with stars like Robert Pattinson, Emma Watson, Emma Stone and more turning up to show their support. Katy Perry and John Mayer went on what looked to be a hot date for his 35th birthday — are they or aren't they?! — and smash-hit Aussie film The Sapphires debuted at the London Film Festival. But that's not even close to all of it — click through the gallery to catch up on all the action as it happened this week!
The blue carpet at Odeon West End in London belonged to the cast and director of The Sapphires last night when they premiered their film at the BFI London Film Festival. It was a reunion for Australian actors Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Jessica Mauboy, and director Wayne Blair, with Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd, who brought his new wife Dawn Porter to the event. Deborah, Shari, Miranda, Jess and Wayne promoted The Sapphires in Australia but Chris couldn’t make it down for the trip. They did, however, debut the musical at the Cannes Film Festival together back in May.
After watching a string of blockbuster releases in recent months, The Sapphires, the Australian film that wowed critics at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and earned a 10-minute standing ovation, is a breath of fresh air. Combining music, comedy, history and a touch of drama, The Sapphires delivers 103 minutes of feel-good entertainment, backed by a soul soundtrack that will have you wanting to dance in your seat.
Loosely based on a true story, The Sapphires is about three indigenous Australian sisters (Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell and Jessica Mauboy) who are discovered at a talent contest held at their local pub by a soul-loving Irishman, Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd). Dave thinks they’ve got the musical chops to be the Australian version of The Supremes, and using his connections he takes them and their cousin (Shari Sebbens) to perform for troops in South Vietnam in 1968. What ensues is a singing tour that involves high-risk situations, romantic dramas, and relationship issues within the group.
To find out why I loved The Sapphires, keep reading.
The State Theatre in Sydney hosted a premiere for the second night in a row when The Sapphires (in cinemas now) debuted last night. After events in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, stars Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman and Miranda Tapsell, as well as director Wayne Blair, walked the red carpet with producers, writers and more Australian talent such as Reece Mastin, Stan Walker, Timomatic, and the original Sapphires who inspired the movie.
We spoke to the cast and crew as they made their way inside the theatre, and while two of the stars were absent — Shari Sebbens was working on a play — Irish actor Chris O’Dowd sent his love via a hilarious text message that was read out to the audience before the screening, saying he “wanted the Sapphires back!” Following the movie, Jessica hit the stage in a sparkly silver gown and wowed the crowd with her spectacular vocals.
- Miranda on taking in all the positive buzz: “I think I’m just really enjoying the ride at the moment. I’m just so blessed that all these people are coming together — indigenous and non-indigenous — and together we’re really uniting on this story about how much we love it. It’s lovely.”
- Wayne on whether he’s worried people will come in with super high expectations: “Oh, totally! It’s just a beautiful film that we’ve made altogether, and to get this kind of buzz, sometimes it feels a bit too much. We just made a nice little story in 100 minutes. But we want everyone to share it. It’s just one of those things where you want to make a story everyone sees, so hopefully everyone will see it. But look, push comes to shove, one day at a time.”
- Deborah on working with Chris O’Dowd: “I love working with Chris O’Dowd. He’s such a wonderful, incredible man, fantastic actor, and bringing him on board and being part of the story was perfect. I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role. He brought so much intelligence, fun and heart to this role, and we had a ball making this. To be standing opposite him when the cameras were rolling, I was like, ‘OK, sh*t, I’m with Chris O’Dowd right now.’ We played really well together.”
- Jessica on watching the movie: “This will probably be my fifth or sixth time. And I don’t get sick of it. Every time I watch it back there’s something new that I latch on to, that I didn’t see before, so that’s always kind of interesting! And surprising.”
It's the little film that could, and the Australian stars of The Sapphires looked beautiful on the red carpet for the Sydney premiere last night. Jessica Mauboy heads-up a cast including Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens (who wasn't in attendance at the premiere) in a heart-warming and funny film about four Australian Aboriginal women who form an musical act called The Sapphires. Jessica had her signature long, dark hair out with a centre part, and Deborah looked polished with a cute pixie 'do. The women kept in minimal in the hair and makeup department, letting their gorgeous dresses and inspiring film do all the talking. Click through to see Jessica, Deborah and Miranda looking their best.
The Sapphires premiered last night at the opening night of the Melbourne Film Festival, which means one thing for us: red carpet snooping! Local stars Deborah Mailman, Kat Stewart and Jade Macrae frocked up for the glama-a-rama event, as did Winners and Loosers' co-stars Zoe Tuckwell-Smith and Melissa Bergland, but we have to admit it was Jessica Mauboy who stole the show for us. The pop star-cum-actress donned a sizzling scarlet gown by Yeojin Bae; flattering her figure and separating her from the pack. Jessica slipped into another Yeojin creation for the afterparty and well as appearing in Yeojin Bae earlier in the week in the Herald Sun. We smell a muse! Get a closer look at what the local celeb contingent wore last night. . .