• On Wednesday at the AACTA Awards, Deorah Mailman won a gong for her role in the ABC series Total Control, making her one of the most decorated female actresses. (AAP )Source: AAP
Amongst the Indigenous winners overnight was Deborah Mailman who took home a gong for her role in the ABC series Total Control.
Brooke Fryer

5 Dec 2019 - 1:11 AM  UPDATED 5 Dec 2019 - 1:23 AM

Award-winning actress Deborah Mailman was just one of many First Nations talent to receive an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award on Wednesday night.

Ms Mailman took home best lead actress in a television series for her role as a federal senator in the ABC political series, Total Control.  

“I’m actually really emotional, this show has meant everything to me. It’s my first lead role in a drama series,” Ms Mailman told reporters following the win. 

Earlier, Ms Mailman told NITV News that her role in the drama series provided a positive representation for young Aboriginal people.  

“When you have characters that are well-drawn and complex, particularly female characters and black female characters, people want more it," she said. 

"Young Aboriginal girls, and even guys, can actually see that you can be anything you want and it’s actually [all about] seeing us on screen, and that’s the most important thing.”  

Although Ms Mailman has been in the industry since the age of sixteen, she said she does not plan on slowing down anytime soon.  

"I love doing what I do. I ain’t slowing down... I get to tell brilliant stories and I love this industry so much,” she said.  

Ms Mailman's win brings her career tally of AACTA Awards to six, making her one of the most celebrated actresses in Australia.  


The Australian Dream, written by veteran journalist Stan Grant and directed by Daniel Gordon, won best documentary.

The Final Quarter, another documentary that draws into focus the racism experienced by champion Aussie Rules footballer Adam Goodes, took home the award for best editing in a documentary. 

Mr Grant said his documentary “brought together Adam’s story, 200 years of history and Indigenous stories... to speak the truth as we saw it”.  

“This was not just about Adam Goodes... It was about the two centuries that led up to the booing of Adam Goodes,” said Mr Grant.  

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Another big winner was Dylan River for his online TV series Robbie Hood, which took home the award for best online drama or comedy.  

Mr River said that claiming the new award was a “testament for the online space” and the impact that online has towards television and film.  

He also told NITV News that he was proud of the three kids who starred in the series and said they were the “reason this story exists”.  

Coming from a family of film makers, including grandmother Freda Glynn and father Warwick Thornton, Mr River said he hoped that he was carrying on the family tradition respectfully and making his parents proud.  

Newcomer Pedrea Jackson, who played Robbie Hood in the series, told NITV News that the series was an accurate representation of life for many young Indigenous people.  

"It’s true... everything the tv show has shown, is true,” he said.  

The series is about Robbie Hood and his friends, all in their early teens, who live in a remote Aboriginal community in central Australia who do not shy away from testing the boundaries of the law if it means they can help their friends, family and community.  

Set in a remote Aboriginal community in central Australia, the series deals with the harsh realities of living in a remote community, tackling issues like racism, the justice system, poverty and the foster care system.  

At the AACTA Awards luncheon earlier in the week, first-time nominee, Magnolia Maymuru, took out best supporting actress for her debut role in the feature film, The Nightingale.

At the awards ceremony on Wednesday, the Yolngu woman from the East Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala told NITV News the win left her lost for words. 

"That was so cool. I was caught off guard, I was speechless, I didn't know what to say... I did my awkward giggle,” said Ms Maymuru. 

“It means a lot, to get an award for telling a story about one woman, something that happened to her in our country when it happened to so many of our ancestors... to get an award and that recognitions, it means that we are finally ready to talk about it." 

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