Following a critically-acclaimed performance in the Netflix television series Bloodline and a starring role in the smash hit Star Wars film Rogue One, Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn is Hollywood's man of the moment.
The success the 47-year-old Melbourne-born actor has enjoyed in the last year has been acknowledged with an award for excellence in film and television at the annual G'Day USA gala in Los Angeles.
Accepting the award, Mendelsohn regaled the audience with a speech full of jokes, seemingly random references and gentle self-deprecation.
He noted wryly he was "big in Australia from about 1988 to 1989".
"I was the shit," he joked.
Mendelsohn thanked Damon Herriman, David Michod and Kate Beahan for backing him when it was, he said, "unfashionable" to do so.
He also thanked Simon Baker and Rebecca Rigg, Dominic Purcell and the late Heath Ledger for giving him a bed over the years, and acknowledged Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts for inspiring him.
Each year the event, which is part of a larger trade mission promoting Australian innovation and industry to the world's largest economy, honours several Australians of distinction.
This year's "honourees" were Mendelsohn, the award-winning film and television production designer Catherine Martin, whose credits include Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, and the television executive David Hill.
Martin and Hill received lifetime achievement awards; those two awards were presented by Kidman and her husband, musician Keith Urban respectively.
Accepting his award, Hill noted that "when those kind of words uttered there's usually a casket in the room".
Hill thanked former Channel Seven Melbourne boss Ronald Casey, the late Kerry Packer, cricket legends Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell and his former employer, News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch.
He also thanked his wife Joan, whose "Nebraskan, Lutheran, mid-western common sense has, over the years, kept the madness at bay," he said.
In her speech, Martin thanked "everybody I've ever known, who's ever helped me, [and] who made it possible for me to be standing here tonight."
Martin also thanked her husband, director Baz Luhrmann, for having shared "an adventure in art, light and love."
The event was staged at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, adjacent to the Dolby Theatre, the home of the annual Academy Awards.
Other VIPs in attendance included Australia's consul-general in Los Angeles Chelsey Martin, actors Rachel Griffiths, Paul Hogan and Daniel MacPherson and the directors Luhrmann and Phillip Noyce.
The Australian and American national anthems were performed by Australia's Hugh Sheridan and Wé McDonald, a contestant on the US version of The Voice, respectively; Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy also performed.
The black-tie gala, which is also attended by Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop and trade minister Steve Ciobo, is the somewhat colourful icing on a larger, more serious government cake, the G'Day USA trade mission.
That mission, first staged in 2004, promotes Australian food and wine, fashion, film and the arts, defence industry and technological innovation; in recent years it has also included our expertise in water and drought management.
The foreign minister and trade minister have been in the US for the last week as part of a travelling roadshow, more fancifully referred to as the business of "economic diplomacy".
In addition to the gala, nicknamed "G'Day LA" and held in Los Angeles, there are events staged by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade across the US, including San Francisco, Austin and New York.
As part of that roadshow Mr Ciobo delivered an economic outlook address in New York, and was the guest of Texas governor Greg Abbott at an "Australia-Texas BBQ" at the governor's mansion in Austin.
Ms Bishop delivered a keynote address on the role of Australia and the US in the Indo-Pacific at the Skirball Cultural Centre in Los Angeles.
Despite the fact that this year's G'Day USA trade mission has taken place largely in the shadow of a turbulent handover of power in the US, Mr Ciobo told Fairfax Media it was a success.
"We are always, of course, focused on Australia's national interest, but the US and Australia have been very close friends for decades and and I'm very confident we'll continue to be for a long time yet," he said.
Australia's trade with the US in goods and services is worth about A$60 billion a year and Mr Ciobo said the trade mission was an opportunity to reinforce Australia's "diversified and mature" economy.
"On the west coast, for example, we highlight the benefits of being able to produce film and television shows in Australia; in each particular area we focus on our natural strengths," he said.
Mr Ciobo said G'Day USA was largely unaffected by US president Donald Trump's decision to nix the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement.
"Australia will continue having conversations on the TPP 11 or 12-1 approach, and that's with other countries excluding the US, but there's always opportunity to drive the relationship forward," Mr Ciobo said.
Australia also has an existing free-trade agreement with the US, the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), which was signed in 2005.
"That's the architecture that drives the [Australia-US] relationship," Mr Ciobo said. "That provides a good framework for our trade relationship and investment relationship."
The G'Day USA event is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with Austrade and Tourism Australia.
It is sponsored by organisations including Australia Unlimited, Qantas, the United States Studies Centre at The University of Sydney and the American Australian Association.
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