Nicole Kidman is providing $50,000 of her own money for a TV industry award named in honor of an Australian executive who died earlier this year.
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) is to present the newly-created Brian Walsh Award for Emerging Talent at its annual award ceremony in February. The award aims to discover and nurture the next generation of Australian actors.
The award pays homage to the late Brian Walsh, one of Australia’s most admired screen creatives, who left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, both in Australia and internationally. He died suddenly in March at the age of 67.
Walsh began his career in radio and later took up leadership roles at Ten in Australia and Sky in the U.K. He spent some 28 years at Australian pay-TV leader Foxtel, during which time he commissioned iconic series such as “Wentworth,” “The Twelve,” “Colin From Accounts” and “A Place to Call Home.”
Kidman shared a long-term friendship with Walsh, beginning at the infancy of her career, working on the acclaimed series “Vietnam” (1987) and “Bangkok Hilton” (1989).
“Brian Walsh played an important and influential role in the careers of many, including my own,” Kidman said. “I considered him family and for that reason I approached AACTA with a view to creating a legacy in his name worthy of Brian’s long and substantial career.”
The AACTA Brian Walsh Award is open to emerging actors with less than five years of professional, credited experience. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and cannot have previously been nominated for an AACTA Award.
The judging panel for the award comprises some of Australia’s prominent screen professionals. It is led by Michael Idato, culture editor-at-large of The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age. Other jury members include communications consultant Jamie Campbell; actor Rob Collins; Carly Heaton, head of scripted at Fremantle; Amanda Laing, chief content and commercial officer at Foxtel and MD of Binge; Lindsey Martin, senior VP of international co-productions and development at CBS Studios; casting director Kirsty McGregor; director and producer Unjoo Moon; director, producer writer and actor Leah Purcell; and actor and director Pamela Rabe.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous contribution from Nicole. Nicole’s longstanding friendship with Brian and unwavering support for emerging talent embody the spirit of this award,” said AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.
“Brian dedicated his personal and professional life to identifying, nurturing and mentoring young and emerging talent across the creative industry,” Laing said. “Many of these people became his lifelong friends and have gone on to have stellar careers in Australia and on the global stage. This is a very generous commitment from Nicole to honor Brian’s legacy with the next generation of talent and we are forever grateful.”