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Belinda's ARIA Honour

Guest Luc

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I recently found this article on the Sydney Morning Herald Website

CANCER victim Belinda Emmett is in the running for an ARIA award nomination this year, despite her death last November.

She joins high-profile performers including billionaire's wife Erica Baxter and actor Toni Collette in the running for nomination in the best female category, one of the most prestigious awards in the music industry.

All three women had full-length albums which were released in Australia in the past 12 months, making them eligible for nomination.

"The nominations reflect a real diversity and depth in the industry, where you can have a movie superstar up against brand new artists," said Mark Pope, event producer for the ARIA awards. "In a way, we've got two extremes. At one end we've got the heavy hitters [Missy Higgins and Kasey Chambers] but if you look underneath there's a whole lot of interesting stuff bubbling up."

An academy of 1000 ARIA award voters - comprising members of the retail, media and music industries - voted for their favourite artists as part of a top-secret nomination process last week. But the results will not be revealed until an official nominations ceremony in Sydney on September 15.

Although it is a long shot that Baxter and Emmett will be on the final nominations list, leading industry critics are predicting Collette has a chance to join the ranks of Higgins and Chambers as an ARIA finalist. The actor, already renowned as an Oscar nominee, has gained music industry recognition for her album Beautiful Awkward Pictures.

"It's a good record, she's a good songwriter and the band is really good," said Christie Eliezer, music expert and Billboard bureau chief in Australia. "It just depends on whether the music industry allows her to gain that extra level of credibility within the industry. I would be pleased if [Collette's] record made it because it's very original."

Emmett is not the only well-loved Australian in the running for a posthumous nomination (for her album So I Am). Rock star Billy Thorpe, who died earlier this year, is also under consideration.

Mr Eliezer said the variety of artists eligible for nomination makes the voting process more credible because it allows the music association to choose from a wide range of artists.

The biggest buzz ahead of this year's awards is centred on best group, with a number of high-profile bands in the running for nominations. They range from Silverchair and Powderfinger to Grinspoon, Eskimo Joe and Wolfmother.

The ARIA awards ceremony is to be held in Sydney on October 28.

"This is coming at a time when Australian consumers are becoming more obsessed with Australian music," Mr Eliezer said.

"It's perfect timing."

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