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28th Hong Kong Film Awards Preview: More Picks


Let’s finish previewing the remaining major categories beginning with the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.  They are:


I would have voted for Zhang Fengyi solely because he was able to do those “I’m waging war because I’m in love with Xiao Qiao” scenes without rolling his eyes at the nonsense he was being forced to portray. :-)

Zhang Fengyi in RED CLIFF

In all seriousness, I’m picking Zhang because, with the possible exception of Stephen Chow’s character in CJ7, his character figured most prominently in the story of the respective films.  Without the smug and arrogant presence of Cao Cao, the audience isn’t rooting as hard for that “loser Liu Bei” and that “young, inexperienced twerp” Sun Quan.  They’d be like: “oh well, survival of the fittest, the strong conquers the weak”.

I think that this category is a three horse race between Zhang, Stephen Chow and Liu Kai-Chi.  I’d be surprised if Gordon Lam won and I’d be very, very surprised if Louis Fan took home the statue.  Nothing against Fan, I enjoyed his performances in TVB dramas of the 1990s, but his character in IP MAN is about as one-dimensional as you can get.

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:


Like the Best Actress category, my head and my heart had a mighty struggle over who I should throw my vote behind.  I really, really wanted to pick Race Wong here but, like her castmate Prudence Lau, there are times during her performance where she’s a bit off and she loses control of her character.  Sometimes she overacts and sometimes her Mainland accent slips.  It’s a laudable effort but it’s no match for the performance that Chan Lai-Wun turned in for THE WAY WE ARE.

Similar to the way Cao Cao was integral to RED CLIFF, Chan’s Granny character is a key part of THE WAY WE ARE.  Her stirring portrait of a lonely senior powers the low-key emotion and drama of the film.  Without it, THE WAY WE ARE truly would be a boring film that isn’t about anything.

Chan Lai-Wun in THE WAY WE ARE

I agree with Kozo that the award is going to go to Chan or Nora Miao from RUN PAPA RUN.  I hope Chan wins because any number of actresses could have played Miao’s part in RUN PAPA RUN.  Susan Shaw, last year’s winner, probably could have done just as good a job as Miao.  I don’t think, however, that Miao or Shaw could have pulled off the bit in THE WAY WE ARE where Chan’s character cooks herself a meal.  The sequence was simple, she was just cooking dinner for herself but it was filled with so much pathos, I believe Bruce Lee rose from his grave, applauded, and said: “That, my friends, is emotional content.”

* * * * *

The nominees for Best New Artist are:


Kitty Zhang in ALL ABOUT WOMEN

Contrary to previous years where acting giants like Baby Matthew Medvedev (26th HKFA) and Edison Chen (20th HKFA) were nominated, there’s no filler in the category this year as I could make legitimate cases for all five of the nominees to win.  Ultimately, I settled on Kitty Zhang because she shows the most potential.  She oozes screen charisma in her dynamite performance as a female “Master of the Universe”.  The depth and confidence she displays in ALL ABOUT WOMEN is in marked contrast to her “flower vase” debut in CJ7 and her “just look cute and adorable” role in SHAOLIN GIRL.  Maybe she set the bar low with those earlier performances but I was somewhat surprised by how mature and polished she seemed in the mess of a film by Tsui Hark.  If a bookie would take action on it, I’d bet that she ends up with the longest and most accomplished movie career out of all of this year’s new artist nominees.

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Screenplay are:


This pick comes with a caveat as I haven’t seen CLAUSTROPHOBIA yet (the release date for the DVD is April 30th).  However, if Kozo’s review is any indication, I think it’s safe to say that it would not have affected my decision to go with Lui Yau-Wah’s screenplay.  I’m picking it to win for the same reason I picked THE WAY WE ARE for Best Film:  it’s an exceptional Hong Kong film that’s about Hong Kong people and Hong Kong concerns.

Besides, all the other nominated screenplays have issues.  The “one stone, many ripples” theme of THE BEAST STALKER comes off as very contrived.  The writers of PAINTED SKIN got a huge assist from Pu Songling and it would be blasphemous to the notion of art to reward the RUN PAPA RUN screenplay for that silly ending.

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Director are:


Take this pick with a grain of salt because I understand the technical aspects of film directing about as well as I understand the techincal aspects of a Formula 1 car.   That said, the choice for me was between Johnnie To and Ann Hui.  I don’t believe John Woo, Wilson Yip or Benny Chan added to their repertoire or did anything extraordinary with their films.  Johnnie To, on the other hand, explored new territory by successfully making a skillful tribute to French cinema.  I would have voted for his work in SPARROW had it not been for Ann Hui’s remarkable work in THE WAY WE ARE.

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I had my issues last year with Hui’s THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT.  Rather than being an award-worthy film, I felt that the movie highlighted Hui’s tendency to sometimes lay things on a bit too thick.  The piling on of tragedy after tragedy on Ye Rutang was so depressing, any message Hui was trying to convey was lost.

The goofy moon shot from THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT

In sharp contrast, Hui shows great discipline in THE WAY WE ARE.  There aren’t any false notes.  There are no goofy shots of the Moon.  Everything is finely-tuned from the acting to the choice of music to the pace of the narrative.  With great skill, Ann Hui shows the audience the way most Hong Kong people are and, for that, she should win this year’s Best Director HKFA.

Image credits: Lion Rock Productions (Zhang Fengyi), Class Limited (Chan Lai-Wun), Film Workshop (Kitty Zhang), Beijing Poly-bona Film Publishing Co. Ltd. (Still from THE POSTMODERN LIFE OF MY AUNT)

2 Responses to “28th Hong Kong Film Awards Preview: More Picks”

  1. phatyou Says:

    Ip Man!!?! I can’t believe ‘Ip Man’ won best pic. granted I haven’t seen ‘The Way We Are’ yet, but when I was watching ‘Ip Man’, there wasn’t any point in time where I thought that “this could be the best picutre of the year!” sad year for HK films.

    as for kitty zhang having the most accomplished movie career, lin chi-ling could give her stiff competition, as she is the more famous of the two and will probably participate in more big productions, like her upcoming flick with jay chou. and she IS the face that launched a thousand cao cao’s ships… :-P

    nice to see liu kai-chi winning, always one my fave actors… also did stephen chow actually attend the awards?

  2. phatyou Says:

    maybe not for lin chi-ling. she might get married to the toilet prince, which will no doubt affect her film career: Copyright © 2002-2021 Ross Chen