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Hong Kong AFA: China brings out the big guns

Last night the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) announced the nominees for the 6th Asian Film Awards (AFA). While the nominations spread across more of the region than in previous years, a trio of Chinese blockbusters led the way. 32 films from 11 countries and regions made the cut in 14 categories.

In addition to the jury-voted awards, the AFA also presents three special awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award, this year to Hong Kong director Ann Hui; the Edward Yang New Talent Award; and the Award for 2011’s Top-Grossing Asian Film which, given the massive expansion of mainland screens, is rapidly become an award for Chinese films.

Despite the lifetime achievement nod, Hui’s latest film A Simple Life received only two AFA nominations despite doing well elsewhere and being Hong Kong’s foreign Oscar submission.

This year the AFA has also announced People’s Choice awards for Best Actor and Actress, voted for online, and offering flights, hotels and tickets to the bash for the winners. Although the prize is generous and the competition pitched at international entrants, no territory in the world has yet screened all of the titles nominated for the awards.

By the numbers, Tsui Hark’s HK-Chinese 3-D Flying Swords of Dragon Gate has seven nominations; Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War (with Christian Bale) and Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale six; A Separation has five; Wu Xia four.

The Best Film category features four foreign language Oscar contenders – China’s Flowers, Iran’s A Separation, Japan’s Post Card and Taiwan’s Seediq Bale.

While the balance of nominations across the region inevitably shifts from year to year, there are surprises on the nominations list. Japan and South Korea, normally powerhouses at the awards, are under-represented this year. Between them, eight films received 12 of the 72 nominations.

In contrast, India, Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines fared far better than usual, with nine films garnering fifteen nods.

The AFA ceremony is held on Monday 19 March in Hong Kong. The nominations list is:

Best Film
A Separation, Iran
Postcard, Japan
The Flowers of War, Mainland China
The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
You Don’t Get a Second Time, India

Best Director
Asghar FARHADI, A Separation, Iran
Teddy SOERIAATMADJA, Lovely Man, Indonesia
SONO Sion, Guilty of Romance, Japan
TSUI Hark, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
WEI Te-sheng, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
ZHANG Yimou, The Flowers of War, Mainland China

Best Actor
CHEN Kun, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
Donny DAMARA, Lovely Man, Indonesia
Andy LAU, A Simple Life, Hong Kong
PARK Hae Il, War of the Arrows, South Korea
YAKUSHO Kôji, Chronicle of My Mother, Japan

Best Actress
Vidya BALAN, The Dirty Picture, India
Michelle CHEN, You Are the Apple of My Eye, Taiwan
Eugene DOMINGO, The Woman in the Septic Tank, The Philippines
Leila HATAMI, A Separation, Iran
Deanie IP, A Simple Life, Hong Kong

Best Newcomer
KO Chen-tung, You Are the Apple of My Eye, Taiwan
Eric LIN Hui-min, Starry Starry Night, Taiwan
MAEDA Ohshiro, I Wish, Japan
NI Ni , The Flowers of War, Mainland China
Gita NOVALISTA, The Mirror Never Lies, Indonesia

Best Supporting Actor
Umin Boya, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
Lawrence KO, Jump! Ashin, Taiwan
LEE Je-hoon, The Front Line, South Korea
Mario MAURER, The Outrage, Thailand

Best Supporting Actress
Shamaine BUENCAMINO, Nĩno, The Philippines
GWEI Lun-mei, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
Cris HORWANG, Headshot, Thailand
MITSUSHIMA Hikari, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Japan
YAN Ni, 11 Flowers, Mainland China / France

Best Screenwriter
Asghar FARHADI, A Separation, Iran
SHINDÔ Kaneto, Postcard, Japan
LIU Heng, YAN Geling, The Flowers of War, Mainland China
Alan MAK, Felix CHONG, Overheard 2, Hong Kong
Chris MARTINEZ, The Woman in the Septic Tank, The Philippines

Best Cinematographer
CHIN Ting-chang, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
Vishvajith KARUNARATHNA, Flying Fish, Sri Lanka
KIM Woo-hyung, The Front Line, South Korea
Jake POLLOCK, LAI Yiu-fai, Wu Xia, Hong Kong / Mainland China
Rahmat SYAIFUL, The Mirror Never Lies, Indonesia

Best Production Designer
Suzanne Caplan MERWANJI, You Don’t Get a Second Time, India
RYU Seong-hee, The Front Line, South Korea
TANEDA Yohei, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
YEE Chung-man, Ben LAU, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
YEE Chung-man, SUN Li, Wu Xia, Hong Kong / Mainland China

Best Composer
CHAN Kwong-wing, Peter KAM, Chatchai PONGPRAPAPHAN, Wu Xia, Hong Kong / Mainland China
CHEN Qigang, The Flowers of War, Mainland China
Ricky HO, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
Rahat Fateh Ali KHAN, A.R. RAHMAN, Neeraj SHRIDHAR, Rockstar, India
SAKAMOTO Ryuichi, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Japan

Best Editor
Curran PANG, Overheard 2, Hong Kong
Nelly QUETTIER, 11 Flowers, Mainland China / France
Hayedeh SAFIYARI, A Separation, Iran
Anand SUBAYA, You Don’t Get a Second Time, India
TANG Man-to, White Vengeance, Mainland China

Best Visual Effects
Ritesh AGGARWAL, RA One, India
KAMIYA Makoto, Gantz, Japan
Wook KIM, Josh COLE, Frankie CHUNG, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China
XIAO Yang, CHANG Song, A Law, LI Ming-hsung, LI Jin-hui, Starry Starry Night, Taiwan
YUNG Kwok-yin, Andy KANG, Wu Xia, Hong Kong / Mainland China

Best Costume Designer
AMANO Kyoko, EMURA Kouichi, Milocrorze: A Love Story, Japan
William CHANG Suk-ping, The Flowers of War, Mainland China
MOK Kwan-kit, WONG Ming-ha, White Vengeance, Mainland China
Noppadol TECHO, The Outrage, Thailand
YEE Chung-man, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong / Mainland China

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