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Aussie celebs say G'day to the USA

LESS than six months after he settled with the Australian Tax Office for an undisclosed sum, Paul Hogan has been honoured as an ''Australian icon'' at the G'Day USA 10th anniversary black tie gala in Los Angeles.

Hogan put aside his bitterness with the Tax Office to accept his award on Sunday. It had pursued Hogan for almost a decade over claims he owed $150 million in unpaid tax, penalties and interest, and had alleged he used offshore tax havens. No charges were laid and Hogan denied any wrongdoing. He was famously banned from leaving the country at the request of the Tax Office after attending his mother's funeral in September 2010.

''Look, a war is a war and both sides fought hard. But all I can say is it's about time I was honoured, so thanks G'Day USA,'' Hogan said.

He joined 2013 Golden Globe nominees Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Naomi Watts, Jacki Weaver and Glenn Close on the G'Day USA red carpet. Later the Excellence in Film and Television Award was given to Rose Byrne, and John Travolta was named goodwill ambassador.

More than 1100 guests attended the event at the JW Marriott, including Mel Gibson (who chose to bypass the red carpet), Simon Baker, Toni Colette, Anthony LaPaglia, Ryan Kwanten, Julia Morris, Poppy Montgomery and Teresa Palmer. Byrne wore a jumpsuit by Diane Von Furstenberg and was presented with her award by her Damages co-star Close. ''In this industry you have your highs and lows, so I'm appreciating this award as a high,'' Byrne said.

Travolta, sporting what looked like clip-on Lego hair, said the goodwill ambassador award meant a lot to him. ''I have such a strong connection to Australia. Australians 'get' me. I wish Americans had more of a free spirit like Aussies. Aussies know how to have a good time but then they don't feel bad about it the next day. That's the key,'' he said.


The Golden Globe nominees in the room were playing it down; Urban got the nod for co-writing the song For You, and Kidman received two acting nominations for The Paperboy and the HBO biopic Hemingway and Gellhorn.

''For the both of us to be nominated at the same time is just magical,'' Urban said. ''What are the odds of that ever happening in our lives?''

Kidman, who wore a pale pink Elie Saab gown, said she was excited they were going together: ''I go with him to the Grammys and he comes with me to things, but finally we are going together. It may never happen again in our lives, so we're really enjoying it.''

Jackman is a hot favourite for Les Mis but played down his chances: ''Everything that's happened in the past 12 years has been a surprise, so a Golden Globe nomination is no different. I've been practising my 'I'm not disappointed' face.''

Weaver has been nominated for Silver Linings Playbook and said she found out she was nominated by watching TV. ''When I saw my photo come up I yelled a very rude word and started punching the air, then called my husband in Australia. But he wouldn't wake up, so he didn't find out for five hours.''

Elle Macpherson and Richard Wilkins compered the night, and guests were entertained by Jessica Mauboy, Jack Vidgen, David Campbell and acclaimed didgeridoo player William Barton. Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone prepared the food.

Shelly Horton was a guest of Qantas and Swisse.