War epic The Warlords was the big winner in last night's 27th Hong Kong Film Awards, taking home eight of the 19 honours.
The film, nominated for 13 awards, won best film, with Peter Chan Ho-sun winning best director. Martial arts star Jet Li received the best actor award, beating Andy Lau Tak-wah, who was also nominated for his role in the film. The Warlords also picked up best cinematography, best costume make-up design, best sound design, best visual effects and best art direction. Accepting his award, Chan said making the war epic was the only way he could bring people who had been used to seeing movies at home on computers back to the cinemas, and he expressed his gratitude to those who had paid to see it at a cinema.
Set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing dynasty, the story tells of three sworn brothers, played by Lau, Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro, who are forced to turn against one another due to the harsh realities of war and political intrigue.
The best actress honour went to actress Siqin Gaowa, 59, for The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, directed by Ann Hui On-wah. This tragicomedy stars Siqin, one of China's top actresses, as an eccentric old aunt living alone in contemporary Shanghai. The film, which did exceptionally well on the mainland, also features Chow Yun-fat as a comic intellectual who the kindhearted old lady finds irresistible.
Li, 44, said of his first victory at the Hong Kong awards: 'I have been running on the road for 28 years and finally reached the stage.' To Lau, who in the film was betrayed and killed by Li's character and last night lost the top honour to Li, he said: 'I'm sorry. I've betrayed you, brother!'
Lau, however, had the consolation of winning best supporting actor for his role in Protege.
Susan Shaw won best supporting actress for her role in The Pye-Dog. 'It came too late,' the veteran actress lamented of her first-ever award.