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AAA, American Australian Association Presents the 20th G’Day USA Gala

The Aussie invasion of Hollywood started slowly at first, with a handful of trailblazers in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, including Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan, and Grease icon, Olivia Newton-John.

But on January 28, 2023, Australian and American VIPs will come together in L.A. to celebrate 20 years of honoring the Aussies who continue to break through in Hollywood every year, at the 20th anniversary of the G’Day USA Gala.

This year, the black-tie event which also raises scholarship funds for the AAA, American Australian Association & its Arts Fund will honor Avatar actor Sam Worthington with Excellence in Film & Television; Kora Organics entrepreneur and former supermodel, Miranda Kerr, with Excellence in the Arts, and Grammy-nominated rapper The Kid LAROI with Excellence in Music.

The event will also include a moving tribute to the late Olivia Newton-John, who was a regular attendee of the event, along with close friend Paul Hogan, who will participate in the tribute. “It’s a great chance to catch up with your mates and I always looked forward to seeing Olivia there every year,” he says.

The government-sponsored event has also celebrated Australian musical talent including the Bee Gees, Helen Reddy, Kylie Minogue, Air Supply and INXS, as well as sporting stars like golfing legend Greg Norman, and tennis great, Rod Laver.

Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated Elvis filmmaker Baz Luhrmann will participate in the anniversary program as one of the very first honorees in the 2004 inaugural event, alongside then-up-and-coming Cate Blanchett and Anthony LaPaglia.

It’s also worth noting the Golden Globe Awards has championed many of the stars who were later recognized at the Gala. Cate Blanchett won her first Golden Globe in the 2001 drama, Elizabeth. That same year, Baz Luhrmann’s film, Moulin Rouge!, also won Best Comedy/Musical Motion Picture, and Anthony LaPaglia won the Best TV Drama Actor Golden Globe for his series, Without a Trace – just weeks before he was presented with the Excellence in Television award.

Other G’Day honorees with a Golden Globe win or nomination include: Olivia Newton-John, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Simon Baker, Joel Edgerton, Mel Gibson, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Rose Byrne, Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Big Little Lies producer Bruna Papandrea, and Margot Robbie.



At the 2021 virtual gala in which Cate Blanchett received a second G’Day USA award, for Lifetime Achievement, she proudly talked about the relationship that shaped her career. “It’s been the great privilege of my life to work inside the industries of these two great countries,” she said. “My career would not be anything without that extraordinary connection, inspired by Australian trailblazers who went before me.”

One fun fact in the G’Day folklore: the event was the 2005 location where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban first met as fellow honorees (they married 17 months later). The pair returned to the event in 2010 to pay tribute to The Mentalist star, Simon Baker, by performing a version of the Men at Work song, Down Under, with lyrics changed for their friend.

The unpretentious nature of the event, also fueled by the free-flowing Australian wine on tap, has made it a sought-after invitation for both Australians and Americans every year. Margot Robbie says, “it’s such an intimate and extraordinary evening where Aussies and Americans come together and recognize our contributions to the arts.” Naomi Watts chimes in, “I’ve had some great nights at G’Day. It always feels like a coming together of Aussies in America with lots of good food and wine and song.”

After merging with the American Australian Association (AAA) & its Arts fund, G’Day USA is now a fundraiser that continues to provide scholarships for both Australians and Americans to study arts and industries abroad, and this year’s event also includes a performance by AAA Indigenous Arts Scholar, Mi-kaisha.

Like it has for the past 19 years, the evening will end with a closing sing-along of the Peter Allen song, “I Still Call Australia Home”. “That was one of my greatest memories of G’Day,” former honoree, Bruna Papandrea, recalls warmly. “I’m standing on stage singing that song at the top of my lungs next to Margot Robbie and Olivia Newton-John; it doesn’t get any better than that!”