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The Golden Rock - 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards Prediction Edition


Some of these people will be going home happy tonight

Despite my own spotty blog writing schedule, the Hong Kong Film Awards live blog has always been something that I’ve consistently done over the last few years. Unfortunately, due to scheduling problems (the problem being me being stupid in forward planning), I will not be able to do a live blog this year. I will likely do a play-by-play after the broadcast as a translation for people, but they will not be up during the broadcast of the show.

However, I will follow tradition by offering my own predictions for the awards this year. For an alternate (and very well thought-out) set of predictions, I first suggest you all go take a look at Sanney Leung’s predictions and the list of nominees before coming back to read mine.

Done? OK, let’s do this:

Best New Director

Will win: Roy Chow (NIGHTFALL)
Should win: Brian Tse (MCDULL THE PORK OF MUSIC)

I’m not sure which is funnier: That only one nominee in this category is actually nominated for a directorial debut, or that the director who’s only made one film is the least deserving nominee in the category. With 16 million HK dollars at the box office and a lot of positive reviews, NIGHTFALL will likely give Roy Chow that Best New Director award that he thought he’d deserved for MURDERER. However, when the possibility of MCDULL winning a Hong Kong Film Award comes up, I will always choose MCDULL for my preferred choice. 

Best Film of Mainland and Taiwan

Will Win: BACK TO 1942 (China)
Should Win: BACK TO !942 (China)

The other four nominees are all good in their own way, but none of them are playing at Feng Xiaogang’s level, who delivered a famine film that actually managed to balance spectacle, tragedy, and black comedy. It was never meant to be a blockbuster tearjerker like AFTERSHOCK, and kudos to Feng Xiaogang for not trying to repeat past achievements.

Best Visual Effects

Should Win: TAI CHI 0

All the visual effects nominees are actually pretty weak this year, but I predict that the committee will give it to the most expensive film. However, I prefer to give it to the film in which the special effects made the most sense. The video game effects of TAI CHI 0 really served the film’s style, whether you like it or not. Many people didn’t like it, so it probably won’t win.

Best Sound Design


Remember how loud THE VIRAL FACTOR and COLD WAR were? The voters probably remember that, too. THE VIRAL FACTOR will get the big-budget movie win, or COLD WAR will get the prestige film win, but I personally thought THE BULLET VANISHES had a nice, understated sound mix that delivered when it needed to. Check out the finale to (or hear) what I’m talking about.

Best Original Song 


One of the most competitive years in recent memory in this category, there are at least three very solid songs running for the award. While the song from THE LAST TYCOON is a great song (Jacky Cheung’s presence will probably elevate its chances for a win as well), Sammi Cheng’s ROMANCING IN THIN AIR theme song works well with the film and serves the film than the LAST TYCOON song does.

Best Original Film Score

Will win: Peter Kam (COLD WAR)
Should win: Eman Lam, Veronica Lee (DIVA)

The only reason I prefer DIVA is because the other nominees are pretty typical film scores without anything special to distinguish it. Peter Kam’s score for COLD WAR actually even hurt the film. However, if a COLD WAR sweep is coming, then Kam will probably go home with another HK Film Award tonight.

Best Action Design

Should win: MOTORWAY

Jackie Chan is always a frontrunner in this category, but the complex chase choreography of MOTORWAY (especially in the hillside chase sequence in the middle) deserves recognition in my book. I would not be upset at a VIRAL FACTOR win, either, since it’s easily the most accomplished thing in the film. That helicopter sequence was really not easy to pull off (as dumb as the execution is).

Best Costume Design and Make-Up


Man Lim Chung likely have his supporters, judging from his win at the Asian Film Awards, but THE GREAT MAGICIAN was the most accomplished film in this department for its colorful variation of fashion styles.

Best Art Direction

Should win: TAI CHI 0

In my opinion, THE BULLET VANISHES and SILENT WAR already cancel out each other for so obviously recycling the same set, but THE BULLET VANISHES’ factory and town sets are likely to be memorable enough to catch voters’ attention. At the same time, Tim Yip’s prestige and his effort in building the enormous sets in TAI CHI 0 (including the metal monster) may earn him another HK Film Award after all.

Best Editing

Will win: COLD WAR
Should win: MOTORWAY or COLD WAR

Getting a film like MOTORWAY down to a lean 89 minutes with just the right pacing is an award-worthy achievement, but editing did play a huge part in giving COLD WAR the breathless storytelling that audiences loved. Again, if a sweep is in store tonight for COLD WAR, this will be one of the awards it picks up.

Best Cinematography


THE VIRAL FACTOR may pick up the big budget film technical award for the action sequences, and COLD WAR may win this as part of the sweep, but voters may remember the grandeur of Andrew Lau and Kenny Kwan’s work on THE LAST TYCOON. It’s such a good-looking film that no one will believe that it was directed by Wong Jing (though let’s face it, it was probably partly directed by Andrew Lau anyway. 

Best New Artist

Will win: Pass
Should win: Pass

The field is so weak this year that no one deserve this award this year. Luckily, I’m not in the committee, and I’m sure the HKFA won’t be pulling a HK Film Critics Society this year. Congratulations to whoever wins, but that person probably doesn’t deserve it. 

Best Screenplay

Will win: Longman Leung and Sunny Luk (COLD WAR)
Should win: Pang Ho Cheung, Luk Yee Sum, Lam Chiu Wing (VULGARIA)

Filled with technical talk and award bait moments for its stars, COLD WAR will probably win with little resistance from the general public. Despite its flaws, the best thing about VULGARIA really is its profanity-filled script. Pang deserves his second screenplay award at the HKFA (ironic since his first win was for LOVE IN A PUFF), but the wind really is blowing towards COLD WAR winning it all.

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Elaine Kam (THE VIRAL FACTOR)
Should win: Mavis Fan (THE SILENT WAR) or Jiang Yiyan (THE BULLET VANISHES)

Elaine gets to cash in her veteran cred here and pick up the award for her award bait monologue in THE VIRAL FACTOR (came too early in the film for impact, if you ask me), but if voters know what they’re doing, they should recognize Mavis Fan (for having a character more interesting than the lead actress) or Jiang Yiyan (for giving a better performance than the lead actress) for their work.

Best Supporting Actor

Will win: Ronald Cheng (VULGARIA)
Should win: Ronald Cheng (VULGARIA) or Chapman To (DIVA)

Both of these actors stole the show in their respective films, so I would be very happy if either Chapman or Ronald wins tonight. If Chapman loses for DIVA (which may happen since Ronald has Golden Horse momentum behind him), he may still win Best Actor, so that’s OK. However, I am leaning toward Chapman for being the only great thing in DIVA. Ronald was just the icing on the VULGARIA cake. 

Best Actress

Will win: Sammi Cheng (ROMANCING IN THIN AIR) or Miriam Yeung (LOVE IN THE BUFF)
Should win: Sammi Cheng (ROMANCING IN THIN AIR)
Dark Horse: Elanne Kong (LOVE LIFTING)
To ensure a riot in the Cultural Center: Zhou Xun 

It’s finally Sammi’s year, and she could do a lot worse than winning for Johnnie To/Wai Ka Fai’s romance drama. The film had a LOT of problems, but Sammi wasn’t one of them. Elanne winning will be a pleasant surprise, and a huge “eff you” to the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Actually, any actress winning would be a huge “eff you” to the critics group, since they didn’t like any of them for their awards.

Best Actor

Will win: Tony Leung Ka Fai (COLD WAR)
Should win: Chapman To (VULGARIA) or Nick Cheung (Nightfall)

I didn’t like NIGHTFALL, but I thought Nick Cheung’s performance was very strong. On the other hand, I didn’t think Chapman To was particularly good in VULGARIA, but I like the film and would rather see him win over a COLD WAR win for Tony Leung. Again, if a COLD WAR Best Picture win is coming, then expect Tony Leung to pick up Best Actor for his solid turn tonight.

Best Picture

Will win: COLD WAR

Sanney felt that VULGARIA should take the top award as a statement to the co-production system, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s not the best film of the bunch, but neither was GALLANTS when it picked up its Best Picture award. However, I personally prefer MOTORWAY for being well-crafted and hitting the mark so well. On the other hand, there is a lot of industry support for COLD WAR, and it certainly seems like it’s set to take the top prize of the night.

If you get to watch the ceremony live tonight, then have fun. Otherwise, we’ll be back in the next few days with the play-by-play Hong Kong Film Awards not-so-live blog!



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