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Assassin cuts through at AFA

From almost 1,600 submissions from 32 countries, the 77 nominees who’ll compete for this year’s 15 awards come from 36 films from 9 countries. It’s a pretty brutal cull, with less than one in 40 submissions achieving a nomination – far worse odds than achieving an Oscar nomination, for example.

Port of Call, named the leading nominee for the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA) earlier in the week, picked up a handful of AFA nominations, but The Assassin (pictured, top) was the clear leader. Already well-awarded since its Best Director gong for Hou Hsiao-Hsien at Cannes last year, its nine AFA nominations included Best Film, Director, and Actress (Shu Qi). Still here in cinemas, Vendetta has dated the video release for The Assassin a day ahead of the AFA ceremony.

Regular AFA nominees and winners returning include William CHANG Suk Ping, this year nominated for an editing gong for Port Of Call. Chang won the Costume gong last year for Gone With The Bullets and the Costume and Production Design awards in 2014 for The Grandmaster.

Donnie Yen, here last year for Crouching Tiger, is nominated Best Actor for Ip Man 3. Yen took the AFA’s honorary Asian Actor of the Year award in 2014..

Surprise omissions include Ji-hyun (Gianna) Jun in the Best Actress category for Assassination. One of the more bizarre inclusions is Japanese title Three Stories Of Love, nominated for Best Film but not deemed worthy of a single nomination in any other category.

As usual, the AFA’s headline categories are dominated by the region’s three major film producing countries, China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), Japan and Korea.

Among this year’s nominees India continues a solid run of nominations in the music categories, but what the AFA has lacked since its inception is a way to recognise some of the region’s lesser players. Clearly, with 1600 entries from over 30 countries, there’s a desire for consideration.

Introducing genre awards might help some of those smaller film producing countries. Every second film out of Thailand is a horror – and not in the judgmental sense of the word. The Philippines produces far more than its share of romances, most of which go unrecognised elsewhere unless they’re of the arthouse (read: gay) flavour. Comedy is often lost in translation and difficult to judge from afar, but the AFA also doesn’t present awards for animated films or documentary, unlike the Brisbane-based Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

The Asian Film Awards, which this year celebrates its tenth edition, will run 17 March in Macau. The nominees are:

BEST FILM
Mountains May Depart
The Assassin
Bajirao Mastani
Three Stories Of Love
Mr. Six
Veteran

BEST DIRECTOR
JIA Zhang-Ke, Mountains May Depart
HOU Hsiao-Hsien, The Assassin
KORE-EDA Hirokazu, Our Little Sister
GUAN Hu, Mr. Six
RYOO Seung-wan, Veteran

BEST ACTOR
Donnie YEN, Ip Man 3
NAGASE Masatoshi, An
FENG Xiaogang, Mr. Six
LEE Byung-Hun, Inside Men
John ARCILLA, Heneral Luna

BEST ACTRESS
ZHAO Tao, Mountains May Depart
SHU Qi, The Assassin
AYASE Haruka, Our Little Sister
KIM Hye-soo, Coin Locker Girl
Karena LAM, Zinnia Flower

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Max ZHNAG, Ip Man 3
Michael NING, Port Of Call
ASANO Tadanobu, Journey To The Shore
OH Dal-soo, Assassination
CHENG Jen Shuo, Thanatos, Drunk

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
ZHOU Yun, The Assassin
TSUCHIYA Anna, Gonin Saga
Cherry NGAN, Mojin – The Lost Legend
UENO Juri, The Beauty Inside
PARK So-dam, The Priests

BEST NEWCOMER
Vicky KAUSHAL, Masaan
Jessie LI, Port Of Call
FUJINO Ryoko, Solomon’s Perjury, Solomon’s Perjury 2
KIM Seol-hyun, Gangnam Blues
LEE Hong-Chi, Thanatos, Drunk
Waruntorn PAONIL, Snap

BEST SCREENPLAY
JIA Zhang-Ke, Mountains May Depart
Philip YUNG, Port Of Call
Vishal BHARDWAJ, Talvar
UJITA Takashi, KUROSAWA Kiyoshi, Journey To The Shore
RYOO Seung-wan, Veteran

BEST EDITING
William CHANG Suk Ping, CHU Ka Yat, LIAO Ching-sung, WONG Hoi, Philip YUNG, Port Of Call
Rajesh PANDEY, Bajirao Mastani
OZEKI Yasuyuki, Bakuman
TU Yiran, Jian Bing Man
KIM Jae-bum, KIM Sang-beom, Veteran

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Christopher DOYLE, Port Of Call
Mark LEE Ping-Bing, The Assassin
SASAKIBARA Yasushi, YAMAMOTO Yoshiaki, Gonin Saga
LUO Pan, Mr. Six
KIM Woo-hyung, Assassination

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC
1LIM Giong, The Assassin
Nihar Ranjan SAMAL, Bajirao Mastani
Amit TRIVEDI, Bombay Velvet
OTOMO Yoshihide, Journey To The Shore
BANG Joon-seok, The Throne

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
HWARNG Wern-Ying, The Assassin
Maxima BASU, Anju MODI, Bajirao Mastani
MIYAMOTO Masae, Kakekomi
LEE Ji-yeon, SHIM Hyun-seob, The Throne
Carlo TABIJE, Heneral Luna

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Ken MAK, Ip Man 3
HWARNG Wern-Ying, The Assassin
HARADA Tetsuo, Kakekomi
Lee Min-su, Inside Men
Benjamin PADERO, Carlo TABIJE, Heneral Luna

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Ellen POON, Jason H. SNELL, TANG Bingbing, Monster Hunt
Srinivas MOHAN, Baahubali: The Beginning
Prasad SUTAR, Bajirao Mastani
ONOUE Katsuro, Attack On Titan
CHO Yong Seok. CHOI Jae Cheon, LEE Jeon Hyoung, The Tiger

BEST SOUND
LEE Yiu Keung, Kinson TSANG, George YIU Chun Hin, Monster Hunt
CHU Shih-Yi, TU Duu-Chih, WU Shu-Yao, The Assassin
WATANABE Shinji, Bakuman
NISHIYAMA Toru, The Inerasable
KIM Suk-won, PARK Joo-gang, Assassination

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