With six nominations each, sibling duo Angus and Julia Stone, quirky pop artist Sia, alternative rockers Birds Of Tokyo, pop-soul singer Guy Sebastian and rising singer songwriter Megan Washington are the best-placed artists leading up to the 2010 ARIA Awards.

Nominees were announced today (Sept. 28) for Australian industry's 24th annual flagship awards ceremony, which will be held Nov. 7 for the first time at the Sydney Opera House.

Close behind with five nominations are multiple ARIA winning roots-rock act John Butler Trio, psychedelic newcomers Tame Impala and breakthrough rock group the Temper Trap.

In their swansong year, veteran Brisbane rockers Powderfinger will hope to add to their collection of 16 ARIA Awards with four nominations this time around. "We were always grateful for the awards as they arrived," Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning tells Billboard.biz. "But as you get older, you appreciate those things a little more. You realize they do have meaning, because they place you in history." Also up for four ARIAs is singer and songwriter Dan Sultan.

In another first for the ARIA Awards, the public will be allowed to vote on four new categories, From Oct. 14, fans can cast their vote at the ARIA Website to determine the winners for most popular Australian single, most popular Australian album, most popular international artist and most popular Australian artist. Nominees in the first three of those categories are based on the top-selling singles and albums in the eligibility period, while nominees for the most popular Australian artist will be pooled from the finalists in 26 categories of the big event.

Organizers have streamlined this year's show. As previously reported, 11 trophies will be handed out at the Opera House, including the two new peer-voted categories of best hard rock/heavy metal album and best adult alternative album.

Also revealed today during a ceremony at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music were the winners in the four ARIA Artisan Award categories.

Angus and Julia Stone got off to the best possible start, taking out best cover art for their chart-topping album "Down the Way" (Original Matters/EMI), and doubled-up with the producer of the year honor. Kris Moyes won best video for Sia's "Clap Your Hands" (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia), while sound engineer Wayne Connolly was named engineer of the year for his work on Paul Dempsey's "Fast Friends" (EMI).

In a break from tradition, the 16 so-called "genre categories" will be announced during a five-night roll-out beginning Nov. 1 and building up to the main ceremony ARIA Awards, details on which will be announced at a later date.

After disappointing ratings on Channel Nine last year, the ARIA Awards have returned to its long-time free-to-air broadcast partner Network Ten. The show will be beamed live on the night and will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia.

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