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… On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life.

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather.

The Teahouse: 27th Hong Kong Film Awards Edition

Just as there’s a time gap between the LOST island and the freighter, there’s a time gap between the House Where Words Gather and real time. This is why you’re seeing a post about the Hong Kong Film Awards in May.

Not buying it? OK, OK. I’ll come clean. I’ve been busy preparing to be cross-examined for my Joyce Tang Lai-Ming stalker Jo Koocase. I’ve got to come up with answers to questions like: “Why do I have information from Joyce Tang’s Octopus card on my hard drive?”

I’m just kidding. I mention Joyce Tang because I think “Deroyce” — her couple name with rumoured boyfriend Derek Kwok Jing-Hung — sounds too much like “divorce” to be propitious for a Chinese couple. Besides, everyone knows that if I was going to stalk an actress, it’d be Jo Koo (left). By the way, my lawyer wants me to include the following statement:

“Mr. Leung is merely posing a hypothetical situation for humourous effect. It is, in no manner, an admission of wrongdoing or an admission of conspiring to commit any wrongdoing.”

Enough with the shenanigans, on to the business of the day:

First things first: announcing the winner of the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards Predictions Contest. It was a close race that came down to two contestants: Eliza Bennet of Istanbul, Turkey and Jason Fong of Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. Both Ms. Bennet and Mr. Fong got 7 out of 8 picks correct.


Eliza Bennet

Jason Fong

Best Film



Best Director

Peter Chan Ho-Sun

Peter Chan Ho-Sun

Best Screenplay

Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee

Li Qiang

Best Actor

Jet Li

Jet Li

Best Actress

Siqin Gaowa

Siqin Gaowa

Best Supporting Actor

Nick Cheung Ka-Fai

Andy Lau Tak-Wah

Best Supporting Actress

Susan Shaw

Susan Shaw

Best New Performer

Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan

Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan

As a result, the tiebreaker question — PROTEGE is nominated for 15 awards. How many awards will it win? — was used. Ms. Bennet predicted five while Mr. Fong predicted three. PROTEGE ended up winning two awards so the winner of the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards Predictions contest is Jason Fong of Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. Congratulations!

For his prize, Mr. Fong selected a HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS movie poster autographed by Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhang Ziyi.

Timo Karp of Germany and Jason Li from Parts Unknown tied for third. Both got 6 out of 8 picks correct.

As for myself, I tied for 17th place with Agata from Parts Unknown, longtime reader Hard Boiled Mark from Chicago, Nero from Fremont, California and Thomas from Toronto. We each predicted 3 out of 8 categories correctly.

My Triumphs, My Mistakes: In the lead up to the ceremony, there didn’t seem to be much buzz for PROTEGE, MAD DETECTIVE or EYE IN THE SKY so I figured that it would either be a sweep for THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT or THE WARLORDS. While working on the HKFA preview blog post series, I spent weeks convincing myself that THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT was better than I initially thought it was so I ended up ignoring the signs for THE WARLORDS and picked a sweep for the Ann Hui film:

Best Director: Ann Hui On-Wah (THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT)
Best Screenplay: Li Qiang (THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT)

Best Actor: Jet Li (THE WARLORDS)
Best Actress: Siqin Gaowa (THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT)
Best Supporting Actor: Ronald Cheng Chung-Gei (MR. CINEMA)
Best Supporting Actress: Karen Mok Man-Wai (MR. CINEMA)

Best New Perfomer: Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan (EYE IN THE SKY)

PROTEGE is nominated for 15 awards. How many awards will it win? 2

mpf_hkfatea.jpgInstead of being clouded by my self-generated THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT buzz, I should have recalled the example of ORDINARY HEROES (another listless Ann Hui On-Wah film). Along with RUNNING OUT OF TIME and TEMPTING HEART, ORDINARY HEROES led the way in number of nominations for the 19th Hong Kong Film Awards. It ended up winning just one award. This just goes to show you that if you look at something long enough and hard enough, you can convince yourself of almost anything … sort of like how people convinced themselves that a regular truck and trailer was a “mobile production facility”. :-)

On the bright side, I properly pegged that PROTEGE wouldn’t be a big winner despite its fifteen nominations. I’m also Jet Li sings in KIDS FROM SHAOLINGhappy that the “hot door” (熱門) buzz for Jet Li came through and he won the Best Actor award. I’ve known since SHAOLIN TEMPLE 2: KIDS FROM SHAOLIN that Jet Li was more than just an action hero. One of the selections in the House Where Words Gather Film Pantheon, KIDS FROM SHAOLIN is the ultimate Jet Li showcase. Not only does he show off his excellent wushu skills, he does drama, comedy, romance, a scene in drag and even busts out in song during a musical number. He does it all in this film so, if you haven’t seen it yet and you are a Jet Li fan, you really need to check out KIDS FROM SHAOLIN.

Other than that, I’m a little disappointed with myself for not seeing the Susan Shaw win in the Best Supporting Actress category. I think this is something I would have picked up on in the good ol’ days when I read the entertainment sections in six papers.

Reader Interaction: Let’s put the nail on the coffin of 27th HKFA talk with replies to reader comments from the past few posts.

m writes: ” … By the way Sanney, you said you would comment on the ending of Protégé. So, what do you think, did he or didn’t he? I must be a pessimist because my first reaction was that he did.”

Well, I must be an optimist then because I think the kid stops Daniel Wu’s character from shooting up.

* * * * *

From the post on Stephen Hunter’s obituary for Charlton Heston, Glenn writes: I live in the D.C. area and read Hunter’s reviews usually every week.

I resented tremendously his piece on the Va. Tech shooting mainly because he tried to make a connection to Old Boy and other films but then backed away from it for fear of offending anyone.

Either prove the point or do not. Hunter’s insinuations served no one.

Personally, I am sick of people trying to blame films for lone acts of obviously mentally ill people; if Old Boy was the problem then there would be thousands of shooters, right?

I’m sick of it too but I understand the sentiment behind it. People want to make sense of a senseless act so they look for simple explanations like the influence of movies and video games.

Going on a tangent, the thing that really bugs me these days is people blaming McDonald’s and other fast food joints for childhood obesity when the blame should really rest with parents and schools.

Speaking of the D.C. area, what ever happened with the case of the lawyer who sued a mom and pop dry cleaners for US$65 million (or something outrageous like that) over a pair of missing pants? As a person who was raised from the proceeds of a mom and pop operation, I really felt bad for the owners who had to waste time and money dealing with a litigious zealot.

* * * * *

Buma writes: Andy sent you a get-well message?

That’s the coolest thing I ever heard.

Do you know the circumstances leading to that ? I’m guessing you have a friend/reader who knows Andy personally. I don’t think he speaks English well enough to read your old website.

Here’s the story, as it was told to me: Andy Lau was in San Francisco for a screening of HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. Jennifer Young, a reader of my old website, approached him and asked him to write something to me. Andy Lau graciously agreed and that’s how I got my note.

By the way, I was asked in an e-mail what the card says. It reads: “Hang on! We are all behind you! Hope you get well soon!”

Pretty cool. This is why I feel pangs of guilt for thinking that he doesn’t really deserve that Best Supporting Actor award for PROTEGE and that his latest film, THREE KINGDOMS: RESURRECTION OF THE DRAGON, is terrible.

* * * * *

Glenn writes: Andy is still a god; anyone who jumps off a concert stage to fight his own security guards is pretty bad ass in my book. Your get well card is an awesome gift. Did you get any from Pinky Cheung maybe?

Pinky CheungI wish I got something from Pinky Cheung (right). She’s got class like a ‘57 Cadillac, got all the drive with a whole lot of boom in back …

Speaking of Pinky Cheung, she and Jan/Jay Lau Kam-Ling are the only reasons I’m flirting with the idea of picking up FATAL MOVE. Not Sammo Hung, not Danny Lee Sau-Yin and not Simon Yam Tat-Wah. Kozo thinks it stinks so dropping $15 to $20 just for babeage may be too steep a price but still …

* * * * *

MW writes: I thought THE WARLORDS was very average. Just another ancient brotherhood tale but with better cinematography and production values. Aside from that, I left the theatre disappointed after all the hype I had about it. Good director, international stars, potentially interesting and unique story backdrop ended up being a very bland movie. Basically the sum did not equal the parts and all the acclaim it’s getting is due to its reputation. But even I think it’s unfair to compare it to the horrible SPIDER-MAN 3.

I drew the comparison to SPIDER-MAN 3 because I got the same cinematic experience from both films. Both were big budget films that were slickly produced and highly-anticipated. Both were plagued by poor storytelling that leaves you feeling disappointed. If I had a ratings systems, I’d give the same rating to both films.

* * * * *

Glenn writes: Sanney, why the quote from The Kinks’ Come Dancing? Took this 41-year-old rocker a minute to recognize that quote on your masthead from one of my favorite bands.

Simple explanation: “Come Dancing” was playing on the radio when I was updating the blog. For a while now, I’ve been resisting the urge to abandon Top 40 radio and listen mostly to “oldies” radio. The thought first crept into my mind last summer when the Top 40 station in my market seemed to only play “Hey There Delilah”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie and “Before He Cheats” on an continuous loop. I finally gave in a few weeks ago when I heard Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body”. I used to love Mariah Carey’s songs back in the 1990s when she had hits like: “Someday”, “Emotions” and “Fantasy”. Now, her music is overproduced and nonsensical. All I can make out from “Touch My Body” is something about a “secret rendezvous”, something about “YouTube” and something about how she’s going to “hunt you down”.

When I was updating the blog that night, not only did I hear “Come Dancing”, I heard “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, “Little Lies” by Fleetwood Mac and “Take It Easy” by The Eagles. All personal favourites. Even though it’ll make me feel incredibly old, I may not be going back to Top 40 radio.

* * * * *

Will writes: Sanney, do you mind if I ask you a personal question? Just how much TV do you watch? You referenced Rome, American Idol, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Iron Chef and Law & Order: SVU in this post. In your old posts, I’ve seen references to Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, Law & Order, One Tree Hill, etc. That’s a lot of TV.

Yeah, I’ll admit I watch a lot of TV. It was even worse when I watched TVB series in addition to what was on TV here. Sleep? Who needs sleep? I’m a lot better now though. The TVB rental place here went out of business when I sick but even before then I stopped watching TVB series. The last one I rented was IN THE REALM OF SUCCESS — five or six years ago. I miss it though and, if there was a TVB place here, I probably would have checked out LA FEMME DESPERADO, TRIMMING SUCCESS and other twenty-episode light dramas. I used to prefer the short comedy/drama series over the long, overwrought “grand productions” like AT THE THRESHOLD OF AN ERA or, more recently, THE DRIVE OF LIFE.

As for Western TV, I don’t watch all the TV shows I’ve mentioned. I have friends who watch TV (no pretentious “books only” people in our crowd) so I pick things up by osmosis. For example, I don’t watch AMERICAN IDOL but I know of Randy Jackson’s “yo dawg” and “pitchy” schtick because my friends talk about it. Thanks to the whole cancer ordeal, I’ve developed a “life’s too short” mentality so I’m abandoning ship on shows more readily than I used to. I gave up on LOST after “Meet Kevin Johnson”. For a while now, probably around the time of that awful Bai Ling episode, I’ve felt that the show has been jerking me around with forty minutes of filler, eighteen minutes of commercials and just two minutes of actual plot development. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when there ended up being virtually no payoff for years of “Rousseau and her long, lost daughter” build-up. Besides, the only character I cared about anymore was Desmond. Jack, Locke, Kate and company all somehow became insufferable to me.

Boy, I’ve gone far, far afield. Let’s close the show with a topic that’s actually relevant to the entertainment circle …

From the post about THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, Roper writes: How can you put Gong Li (who does NOT do martial arts) in the same sentence with those other actresses? No comparison.

I put Gong Li in the same sentence with Zhang Ziyi and the other actresses not because they are martial arts heroines but because they are stars in Hollywood films hoping to get roles in other Hollywood films. I think that’s a valid basis for comparison.

Glenn writes: So what is with the apparent references in the film to bootlegs?

Kind of ironic in a Weinstein product considering that only a few years ago they were making it increasingly difficult for geeks like me to get legal non-US DVDs of Hero even while they left it on the shelf for 2 years.

I hate bootlegs too so I didn’t appreciate them trying to lump all imports under the bootleg umbrella.

You sort of answered your own question. The “bootlegs” that the kid shops for in the pawn shop are simply imports.

Mike Mai writes: Li Bingbing stole my heart in this film. She’s extremely beautiful!!!!

I agree. Li Bingbing is certainly more eye-catching than Crystal Liu in THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. I focused on Crystal Liu because she has aspirations for a Hollywood career. I don’t think Li Bingbing has similar ambitions.

* * * * *

In the meantime and in between time, that’s it, another edition of The Teahouse. If you made it this far, thanks for slogging through all the stuff about music and TV. A big thanks also to Lester Mak for designing the spreadsheet for the HKFA Predictions contest. There wouldn’t have been a contest without his help so let’s all give Lester some dap.

Next time: In keeping with the timeliness of this blog, I’ll be doing a post on celebrity relief efforts for the earthquake … in Taiwan … on September 21st, 1999.

Just kidding but, in all seriousness, if you haven’t done so and if you have the means, please consider making a donation to the earthquake relief effort through your local chapter of the Red Cross.

Image credits: (Jo Koo), United States Government (Moblie Production Facility graphic), Chung Yuen Motion Picture Company (Jet Li), NextMedia (Pinky Cheung)

3 Responses to “The Teahouse: 27th Hong Kong Film Awards Edition”

  1. Eliza Bennet Says:

    Congratulations Jason Fong :)

  2. MW Says:

    I can’t believe you gave up on LOST after meeting Kevin Johnson. The twist was the worst kept secret but the Ben episode after the brief break was one of the best ever. If you haven’t hopped back on yet, do it. Finale is tomorrow! And it has what everyone loves: explosions and revelations!

  3. glenn Says:

    I would stalk Jo Koo only if she was dressed like the character she played in Beauty and the 7 Beasts! LOL!

    Sanney, e-mail me your mailing address and I’ll gladly mail you my DVD of Fatal Move — no kidding — a big disappointment on all levels but you are welcome to it — maybe you’ll see something I missed. You want a copy of Playboy Cops as well?

    That laundry guy lost his lawsuit and I think had to pay court costs for all involved. That is the last thing I remember reading about it around here.

    Stephen Hunter took the Washington Post buyout; they bought out a lot of reporters recently including he and Thomas Ricks who was a voice of reason on the war, but I digress. Copyright © 2002-2021 Ross Chen