Monday, April 20, 2009

Hong Kong Film Awards 2009

Hong Kong Actor Louis Koo & Barbie Hsu

John Woo's Chinese historical epic, a biopic of Bruce Lee's kung fu master and a documentary-like look at a working-class neighbourhood are the top contenders at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday.

The nominees reflect the past and present of Hong Kong's movie industry - once a major Asian filmmaking hub known for its local stories, but now increasingly geared toward the Chinese mainland market with historical and kung fu blockbusters.

Woo's $US80 million two-part epic Red Cliff, based on an ancient Chinese battle by the same name, is a prime example of the recent trend of films made with an eye toward mainland viewers. Wilson Yip's action-filled biography of Bruce Lee's teacher Ip Man is another example, portraying the late martial arts master as a patriot who resists the Japanese occupation of his southern Chinese hometown.

The first installment of Red Cliff is up for 15 prizes and Ip Man is competing for 12 at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Both movies are nominated for best picture.

But another top contender harkens back to the locally flavoured fare made in the former British colony known for its mix of Chinese and Western cultures.

Veteran filmmaker Ann Hui's The Way We Are, which follows the life of a single mother in Hong Kong's Tin Shui Wai district, is a contender for best film, best director, best screenplay and best actress.

The other best picture nominees are Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow's sci-fi movie CJ7 and Gordon Chan's ghost thriller Painted Skin.

Woo and Yip are also up for best director, competing against Benny Chan for Connected and Johnnie To, who was nominated for Sparrow, a playful look at a pickpocket gang.

Former Cannes winner Tony Leung Chiu-wai received a nod for best actor for playing a Chinese general in Red Cliff. He faces off with action star Donnie Yen, who played Ip Man; Simon Yam in Sparrow; Nick Cheung from the police thriller The Beast Stalker; and heartthrob Louis Koo, who portrayed a gangster who struggles to give up a life of crime in Run Papa Run.

China's Zhou Xun, the lead in Painted Skin, is the biggest star in the best actress competition, but she faces stiff competition from Hong Kong's Prudence Liew, who won the Chinese-language equivalent of an Oscar at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards in December for playing a sex worker in True Women for Sale.

The other nominees are Paw Hee Ching from The Way We Are, Barbie Hsu from Connected, and Karena Lam from the romance Claustrophobia.

More pics...

Arrving at the evet from left

Chinese actress Lynn Xiong
Chinese actress Xu Jiao won the Best New Performer
Chinese actress Sun Li
Hong Kong actress Karena Lam
Chinese actress Zhou Xu
HongKong actress Fiona Sit and actor Jayce Chan
Japanese actress Chie Tanaka
HongKong director John Woo andwife Annie(L) and director Ann Hui (R)
HongKong actress Monica Mok


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