Oscar winner Rush named head of Australian academy

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Acclaimed actor Geoffrey Rush has been appointed founding president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, a new Oscars-inspired honours system for Australian film.

The announcement was made by director George Miller - best known for the Mad Max series - on Thursday evening with the new academy created to improve national and international recognition of Australia's movie industry.

Gold-cast statuettes, similar to the Oscars, will be handed out each January in Sydney to coincide with the international awards season.

"You'd be an idiot if you didn't recognise that Australian artists in front of, and in so many categories behind, the camera are among the world's best," said Rush, who has won Oscars, BAFTAs, Emmys, and Tonys in his career.

"It will be the role of this academy to honour, encourage and award the very best in Australian film and television."

Some of the announced council members of the academy include actor Jack Thompson and directors Fred Schepisi and Jan Chapman.