The Diary: Kiwis shine at Oz Oscars

Danielle Cormack arrives at the 2nd Annual AACTA Awards. Photo / Getty Images
Danielle Cormack arrives at the 2nd Annual AACTA Awards. Photo / Getty Images

She had little chance of stealing the limelight from Hollywood A-listers Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett on the red carpet at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards in Sydney on Wednesday, but acclaimed New Zealand actress Danielle Cormack held her own.

Wearing a satin Carl Kapp gown with her auburn locks cascading, Cormack led the style pack of Kiwi actors, which included Rebecca Gibney, Michala Banas, Aaron Jeffery and Russell Crowe, who played host.

Jeffery, Cormack's co-star in upcoming TV drama Wentworth, arrived with his partner Zoe Naylor (formerly of Orange Roughies) to the bash, but took home the gong for best supporting actor in a TV drama for his role as the crazed baddie-turned-informant in Underbelly: Badness.

His Outrageous Fortune co-star, Antony Starr, who's now based in the US with hit series Banshee, won the best supporting actor award for the critically acclaimed thriller Wish You Were Here.

Amazing Race Australia, hosted by New Zealand-born actor Grant Bowler, was awarded best reality television series, beating The Voice on rival Nine, which starred Kiwi Keith Urban and generated monster ratings.

Hour of Holmes' people

He would sign off his show, "those were our people today, that's Holmes tonight", and TVNZ is going to introduce us to some of those people on Sunday night. TV One is screening a special hour-long tribute to the inimitable Sir Paul Holmes and the people whose lives he touched.

"There are some incredibly touching memories of Paul," Briar McCormack, TVNZ's editor current affairs, told The Diary. "One family were in tears when we turned up, still eternally grateful for how Paul helped them nine years ago."

Melisa Tolja, the 16-year-old from Sarajevo who pleaded for Holmes' help during the height of the Bosnia conflict, recollects, as do the people in the infamous Morrinsville hostage crisis in 1993. Larry Hammond, armed with homemade bombs and a crossbow, took four people captive and demanded to speak to Holmes live on air. The broadcaster successfully played negotiator, convincing him to release the hostages.

Maryanne Ahern, the show's executive producer, said we haven't seen that sort of humanity in a broadcaster since. "He had an enormous effect on real people, night after night, and those people have been happy to share their story with us, and talk about the impact he had on them, and how he changed their lives."

Holmes - A Celebration airs on Sunday at 8.30pm on TV One.

Comeback kings

Mt Zion, the family-oriented feature film starring Temuera Morrison and Stan Walker, will have its celebrity-packed premiere at Manukau's Event Cinemas on Monday, before a public release on Waitangi Day.

The actors, including David Wikaira-Paul (ex-Shortland Street), Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson (from the "ghost chips" ad) and Troy Kingi (Scribe With Us songwriter), will arrive in classic 1970s vehicles - a nod to the era of the movie.

Morrison will move back into television this year with an eponymous reality show on TV One, as previously mentioned in this column, while Walker will arguably be the most well-known face gracing TV3's X Factor judging panel.

The former Australian Idol winner will be joined by little-heard-of local singer Ruby Frost, blast-from-Britain's-pop-past Melanie Blatt (remember 1990s girl group All Saints?) and expat singer Daniel Bedingfield, whose two biggest hits were a decade ago. It's less X Factor, more ex factor.

Trials and tribulations

Also launching on Monday night, although to considerably more fanfare, is TVNZ's daily current affairs show Seven Sharp.

Jesse Mulligan, Ali Mau and Greg Boyed underwent their first full rehearsal on Wednesday, with occasional panellists Rose Matafeo and Martin Devlin joining in.

"Went pretty well, we are almost ready," tweeted supervising producer Mauricio Olmedo-Perez. Expect more muted revelations via the micro-blogging site as social media becomes a more exploitable tool.

However, one subject unlikely to be maximised is the relationship between Mau and her former husband, Simon Dallow, which insiders describe as "frosty to say the least". One mole gushed: "They'll be in makeup at the same time, and everyone's already saying it'll be the big freeze."

Bluebloods trackside

British aristocrat Henrietta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford, who is estimated to be worth $1 billion and has homes in Britain, Matamata and Parnell, wasn't the only blueblood hobnobbing at the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales this week.

The Hon Lucinda Pritchard-Gordon (nee Neville), the willowy blonde daughter of the 10th Baron Braybrooke, made an appearance at the sales too, and at Ellerslie Racecourse the day before.

Lucinda, who is married to Tom Pritchard-Gordon, a bloodstock agent, lives in Britain but her 80-year-old father, Lord Braybrooke, made headlines in the British press this week thanks to his eldest daughter, who is challenging her inheritance - or lack of it.

Braybrooke - whose family seat is the Jacobean stately home Audley End, held since the reign of Henry VIII - has fathered eight children, all girls. His ancient title will be surrendered to the next-in-line male relative.

Lucinda's oldest sibling, Amanda Murray, miffed at being deprived of her inheritance on account of her gender, spoke out this week and entered the contentious political debate about Britain's royal succession laws, catching the ear of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Sir Colin Meads, also at the sales, is unlikely to be fussed by ancient British primogeniture lore.

The knight with a nose for business was potentially looking for another "million dollar baby" after Ruud Awakening, in which he owns a 10 per cent share, won Sunday's Karaka Million.

Off the Ridge

MediaWorks has confirmed there will not be a second series of The Ridges.

Originally, producers hoped the entire extended family would be available (in the vein of The Kardashians), but former flames Adam Parore and Matthew Ridge refused to be involved in the series and banned their children from appearing.

A rep for the media group said "content was limited" and "there are no plans to renew the show".

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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