Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban to Be Honored at January 15 Gala Celebrating Australian Achievements
By G'Day LA: Australia Week 2005
Dec 18, 2004, 18:00

Penfolds Gala Headline Event of G'Day LA: Australia Week 2005

Los Angeles, CA -- Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban will be honored at the Penfolds Gala Dinner on January 15, 2005, the headline event of the second annual G'Day LA: Australia Week in Los Angeles.

G'Day LA: Australia Week from January 15 - January 23, 2005, will showcase all things Australian, including food and wine, travel, film, arts, culture, fashion and business, at a series of events across Los Angeles.

The Penfolds Gala Dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel will bring together and honor Australians who have made significant international contributions across various industries. The event will feature the best of Australian musical talent and a menu designed and executed by celebrity chef Neil Perry, one of the leading lights of the Mod Oz cuisine movement.

Australian Consul General the Hon. John Olsen, said all three honorees personified the achievements Australia Week was designed to celebrate.

Mel Gibson's achievements are virtually unparalleled in his field," he said. "He is a product of both Australia and America and his career reflects the influence of both his home countries."

Nicole Kidman's creativity, talent and elegance have made her one of the world's most successful and popular actors," he continued.

Mr. Olsen said Keith Urban, the multi-platinum recording star, proved that an Australian country boy can reach the top in one of the most competitive music fields markets in the world -- American Country music.

"Mel Gibson was born in Peekskill, N.Y. and immigrated to Australia as a 12-year-old with his family. After graduating from Australia's famed National Institute of Dramatic Arts, he quickly established a name for himself as one of the leading lights of the "New Wave" of Australian cinema. Starring in such acclaimed films as "Mad Max," "Gallipoli," "The Year of Living Dangerously" and "Tim," Mel Gibson launched a career which has seen him rise to the international pinnacle of his craft as an actor, producer and director of some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of his time.

"Nicole Kidman was born in Hawaii but returned to her parents' home town of Sydney, Australia as a very young girl. A passion for the stage became apparent in her childhood and soon acting had edged out ballet as her first love. At 16 she made her film debut in "Bush Christmas" and followed that with breakout performances in both film and television. Her US debut came in 1989 when she starred opposite Sam Neill in the thriller "Dead Calm." Over the next few years her performances in a range of high profile films eventually delivered Gus Van Sant's "To Die For" to her door, winning her first Golden Globe award and great critical acclaim. With "Moulin Rouge!," "Dogville," "Eyes Wide Shut" and "The Hours," Nicole Kidman has built a career of great depth and variety. Her performance in "The Hours" made her the first Australian to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Keith Urban grew up on a small farm in Queensland, Australia. Raised to the tunes of Don Williams, Glen Campbell and Charley Pride, he decided at a very young age that music was his calling. At eight he won his first music talent show. By fifteen he had quit school and hit the road with his band. And in 1992 he headed for Nashville. His self-titled debut album, "Keith Urban," yielded three Top 5 hits, including the No.1 'But For The Grace Of God'. Urban's follow up album, "Golden Road" went double platinum in the US and produced four #1s. "Days Go By" is Urban's #1 single from his current release "Be Here" which was certified Platinum in just six weeks. Urban was named the Country Music Associations ' Best Male Artist for 2004 and was this week nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Last year's Penfolds Gala Dinner honored Cate Blanchett, Anthony LaPaglia and Baz Luhrmann for their international achievements. Nearly 100 Australian companies and more than 200 U.S. businesses participated in the inaugural Australia Week in 2004, and celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Olivia Newton John and Greg Norman lent their support to the events.

G'Day LA: Australia Week is produced through a partnership between the Australian Consulate in Los Angeles, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tourism Australia, AusTrade and Qantas Airways. It is supported by significant corporate sponsorship from major Australian companies.

Contact: Laura Calliari, Golin Harris
Phone: 310-941-8780

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