Curtains raised on Asian Oscars

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2013, 3:15am

Korean films lead the field in this year's Asian Film Awards with 16 nominations, its organisers, the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, said yesterday.

Pieta, the winner of the Venice Film Festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, is up for best film, alongside Hong Kong director Johnnie To Kei-fung's crime thriller Drug War; romantic tragedy Mystery by mainland director Lou Ye ; Indian crime film Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 and 2, and yakuza film Outrage Beyond by Japanese actor-director Takeshi Kitano.

Jury president Andy Lau Tak-wah said he would be watching each film a few times before making his decision. He also welcomed the First Feature Film Initiative proposed in Leung Chun-ying's policy address yesterday to support young filmmakers.

Pieta director Kim Ki-duk is also up for best director. Lou, who was banned from making films for five years after showing his 2006 drama Summer Palace at Cannes Film Festival without permission, was also nominated.

Mystery's stars Hao Lei and Qi Xi are up for best actress and best newcomer respectively.

Best screenwriter nominations include the team behind Drug War, led by Hong Kong's Wai Ka-fai and Yau Nai-hoi.

Hong Kong actors are also in the running. Tony Leung Ka-fai was nominated for best actor for his role as a deputy police chief in crime thriller Cold War.

Chapman To, who plays the manager of a pop star in Diva, was nominated for best supporting actor - after being named best actor by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society on Monday. "I hope to achieve the best outcome for Hong Kong," To said.

Other Hong Kong nominations include Man Lim-chung for best costume designer and production designer ( The Silent War). Yee Chung-man and Eric Lam Chi-kiu were nominated for their production design on The Last Tycoon.

The awards will take place in Hong Kong on March 18.