February 12, 1970
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A talented Australian actress who quickly gained a reputation for bold and skilled portrayals in acclaimed native productions, Sacha Horler took two Australian Film Institute acting awards in 1999, winning Best Actress as a sexual obsessive in "Praise" and Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a young divorced mother dealing along with her siblings with her mother's terminal illness in "Soft Fruit." Horler's parents were lawyers, but co-founded Sydney's Nimrod Theatre Company in the early 1970s, so she grew up with an affection and appreciation for drama instilled from an early age. In 1993 she graduated from Sydney's prestigious National Institute for Dramatic Arts and made her film debut two years later with a role in the music-themed comedy "Billy's Holiday." In 1997, Horler was featured in the Australian produced drama "Blackrock," and even appeared in the international hit "Babe: Pig in the City" the following year. Among her notable Sydney stage credits were featured roles in the one-act play collection "Playgrounds" (1996) and Harold Pinter's theater classic "The Birthday Party" (1997).Next up for the actress was her breakthrough role, that of the passionate, manic and demanding Cynthia, a young woman suffering from chronic eczema who falls in love with alcoholic asthmatic Gordon (Peter Fenton) in the gritty drama "Praise." Horler proved a courageous and dedicated performer to tackle the role, which featured several sobering sex scenes and a great deal of unromanticized nudity. Add in her character's chronic eczema, overbearing personality and bad dye job, and it is obvious that Horler had to become quite an unattractive person for the film, yet she brought to her character an odd and endearing dignity and charm. Horler's follow up supporting role in "Soft Fruit" called for the physical alterations of weight gain and wildly curly hair. In this funny yet harrowing examination of family, life and death, she played Nadia, the middle daughter of a woman (Jeanie Drynan) stricken with terminal cancer. Horler brought exuberant life to Nadia, portraying her both as a free-spirit and a fighter who sees more of her unstable father in herself than she'd like to. In 2000, both of these films saw release in the United States, further raising her profile. That year, she also had a supporting turn in the drama "My Mother Frank," starring as the married daughter of a widow (Sinead Cusack) who returns to school after her children have grown.