In this excerpt from the 1998 AFI Awards ceremony, held at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre on 7 November 1998, actors Guy Pearce and Greta Scacchi present the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
The award goes to Deborah Mailman for her portrayal of Nona in the film Radiance (1998), directed by Rachel Perkins, about three sisters who have reunited following the death of their mother.
Mailman was not at the ceremony that night. Instead, she accepted her award and gave a speech in a live cross to the Sydney Opera House, where she was performing in The Bell Shakespeare Company’s production of Lear in the role of Cordelia, the youngest daughter of King Lear.
At age 26, Mailman had impressive list of theatre credits to her name, including the stage production of Radiance and the one-woman show The Seven Stages of Grieving. However, the film adaptation of Radiance was Mailman’s first role in feature films or television.
Mailman is the first Aboriginal woman to win the Best Actress AFI award.