HONG KONG: Historical epic “The Warlords” dominated the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday scooping eight gongs including best film and best actor.
The film, set in wartime 19th century China and with an all-star cast – including Hong Kong heartthrob Andy Lau who missed out to martial arts star Jet Li for best actor – scooped best director for Peter Chan and best film at the glittering ceremony.
“If I had not made a lot of kung fu films, I could have won the best actor award 20 years ago,” the Chinese star Li said in his acceptance speech.
Lau, who was nominated for awards in two separate roles, scooped up the supporting role for his performance in “Protege,” which also won best film editing.
The movie is a crime thriller about an undercover policeman seduced by the lifestyle of his mafia boss, played by Lau.
“(I was) told that if I played this role, I would be respected by the entire film industry,” he said picking up the best supporting actor award.
However, Lau, who is also a singer, missed out on best original song, which went to the theme from “Love is Not All Around.”
The celebrity-mad Hong Kong press pack was out in full force at the red carpet event, as hundreds of screaming fans waved banners and cheered a string of glamorous leading ladies and men as they arrived outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Controversial Second World War Epic “Lust, Caution” from director Ang Lee won the best Asian Film Award.
The film has faced a tough time from mainland censors for its explicit sex scenes and its subject matter of a government that collaborated with the Japanese occupation. Lee was not in Hong Kong to accept the award.
The best actress award went to Siqin Gaowa for her lead role in the quirky “The Postmodern Life of My Aunt,” about a woman in her 60s who falls for an amateur Peking Opera performer, played by megastar Chow Yun-fat.
Prolific director Johnnie To enjoyed a better return than his blank score last year, with his crime flick “Mad Detective” winning best screenplay after drawing plaudits at last year’s Venice film festival.
To also produced “Eye in the Sky” which won best new director for Yau Nai-hoi and best performance by a newcomer for actress Kate Tsui.
The professional achievement award was given to much-loved comic actress Lydia Sum, better known as “Fei Fei” (literally meaning “Fat Fat”) who died from cancer earlier this year.
The lifetime achievement award was presented to Hong Kong movie boss Raymond Chow.
Chow’s Golden Harvest studios helped produce a string of talent from the former British colony, including action star Jackie Chan and martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
Hong Kong enjoys a rich film heritage and became an international movie powerhouse in the 1970s, but it has fallen on tough times in recent years with dwindling box office receipts.
However, its stars still enjoy huge popularity across Asia. – AFP/ac
Channel News Asia