ROLLING onto the stage on a ride-on mower was the least awkward thing about Sophie Monk and Osamah Sami’s presentation at the AACTA Awards on Wednesday night.
After disembarking the small tractor, Monk and Sami — who was nominated for an award for his role in Ali’s Wedding — struggled through some rehearsed banter that didn’t quite land the way they planned.
“You know who Sophie is — she is a super star of Australian television. I’m here to fulfil the diversity quota,” Sami — an Australian actor of Iraqi origin — deadpanned to a lacklustre response.
“I don’t know what diversity means,” Sophie said, in an attempt to punch up the moment.
The audience wasn’t giving them the laughs they wanted — but the pair hammered on.
“Sophie, it’s a little bright in here. It’s not the lights — it’s just a lot of white people,” Sami continued. “Somewhere, someone is watching through their television right now going, ‘Wow, I just paid … bugger me dead, I just paid six grand for this television and it shows no colour’.”
Confused by the minimal laughter, Sophie asked: “Is that a bit racist?”
The struggle continued when Sami decided to spell out the joke for the audience.
“It’s a go at the industry who doesn’t give a sh*t about diversity,” he explained.
By now, Monk made the executive decision their comedic bit wasn’t flying. So she cut straight to the nominees for the Best Performance in a Comedy.
After beginning the year with six Oscar and four Golden Globe nominations and two BAFTA wins, homegrown movie hit Lion swept the AACTAs, winning 12 awards, including Best Film.