In light of the sexual harassment storm which has hit the entertainment industry, actress Rachel Griffiths has taken to the red carpet at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards to say “women have had enough”.
Joining the stars of the large and small screens, Griffiths said women have not been adequately protected in the industry but actor Geoffrey Rush, recently accused of sexual harassment, “is not Harvey Weinstein”.
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Weinstein, accused of sexual harassment over decades, has been the catalyst for a huge number of allegations against men in power.
This year’s AACTA awards will be the first for which Rush is not in attendance, after he stepped down as the organisation’s president in the wake of an allegation of “inappropriate behaviour”.
Rush denied the allegation and on Wednesday Griffiths said “nobody likes to be tried in the public square”.
“The fact that we are discussing things in the ‘marketplace’ shows that processes and procedures have not been adequate,” Griffiths said.
“Geoffrey Rush is not Harvey Weinstein and I have had more than a handful of interactions with Harvey Weinstein.”
Griffiths also stressed it was not just the entertainment industry where women were subject to harassment and inequality.
“It’s more prominent because we are a sexy soundbite.
“It’s a huge problem in the service industry, its a huge problem in the hotel industry.
“If we have the conversation in our arena then great, but to make it about us… is a massive distraction from the real work we need to as a society.”
Veteran director Gillian Armstrong, whose films include Little Women and My Brilliant Career, presented an award alongside Griffiths and advised young women to take off their high heels, put on gum boots and be the boss.
Simon Baker won the Trailblazer award for his long career in Australian and American television in E Street, The Mentalist and The Guardian.
His feature film directorial debut is with a screen adaptation of Tim Winston’s book Breath.
A teary Baker accepted the award from a man who blazed the trail across the Pacific decades ago, Bryan Brown.
“I’m the front man babe but you are the rocking rhythm section,” he said to his wife in the audience.
On the red carpet he said “successes take care of themselves” but he has really learnt from his mistakes.
Nicole Kidman took out best supporting actress for the biographical film, Lion, but she was not in attendance.
However, her real-life counterpart Sue Brierly was on the red carpet alongside adopted son Saroo ‘Lion’ Brierly.
They revealed they were working on a musical version of their real-life story and Sue was working on a second book.
Emma Booth won best lead actress in a feature film for Hounds of Love with Dev Patel picked up Best Supporting Actor for his role in Lion.
Lion won all 12 of the categories it was nominated for at the 2017 AACTA awards taking out best film and best actor for Sunny Pawar.
In accepting the award for best film, producer Angie Fielder commended the “incredible bravery of the women” who had spoken out about sexual harassment in the screen industry.
“Hopefully this marks a time of change, it’s really great to see the industry taking a stand.”
Pawar has already had an enviable career and is currently shooting his third film so could not make the ceremony.