Asian Film Awards 2019 nominations: Burning, Shoplifters vie for top prizes

  • South Korean film Burning and Japan’s Shoplifters lead the field with eight and six award nominations, respectively
  • Hong Kong films again absent from the best picture race, but Felix Chong’s Project Gutenberg is up for an impressive five awards
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2019, 11:50am

After becoming the first film from South Korea to be shortlisted in the Academy Awards’ best foreign-language film category, director Lee Chang-dong’s Burning is now leading the field in the 13th edition of the Asian Film Awards with nods in eight categories, including best picture and best director.

Lee’s film is a slow-burning drama that is loosely adapted from the short story Barn Burning by Haruki Murakami. It revolves around the shifting dynamics among a trio of characters, including a frustrated writer (Yoo Ah-in), his free-spirited crush (Jun Jong-seo) and a Gatsby-esque stranger that she has just befriended (Steven Yeun). Yoo and Jun are nominated in the best actor and best newcomer categories, respectively.

Every feature film by Burning director Lee Chang-dong ranked

Joining Burning in the best picture race are Hirokazu Koreeda’s Sh oplifters, another best foreign-language Oscar contender and the Palme d’Or winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival; the fact-based comedy-drama Dying to Survive, which won Xu Zheng the best actor prize at the Golden Horse Awards in November; Jinpa, a meditative drama produced by Wong Kar-wai and directed by Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden; and Sanju, a biographical film about the life of controversial Indian actor Sanjay Dutt.

Shoplifters and Sanju have garnered six nominations each. They are followed by the twisty crime thriller Projec t Guten berg, written and directed by Hong Kong veteran Felix Chong Man-keung, which is nominated for five awards.

While this is the fifth year in a row no Hong Kong film has earned a best pircture nomination at the Asian Film Awards, it is at least encouraging to see Chong’s film joined by five other Hong Kong films on the nomination list, including two that are directed by new filmmakers (Tracey and Still Human).

The winners of the 2019 Asian Film Awards will be announced at a ceremony at TVB City in Hong Kong on March 17.

The full list of nominations are as follows:

Best film

Burning (South Korea)

Dying to Survive (China)

Jinpa (China)

Sanju (India)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Best director

Lee Chang-dong (Burning)

Pema Tseden (Jinpa)

Rajkumar Hirani (Sanju)

Hirokazu Koreeda (Shoplifters)

Fruit Chan (Three Husbands)

Best new director

Yeo Siew Hua (A Land Imagined)

Rima Das (Bulbul Can Sing)

Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Manta Ray)

Shinichiro Ueda (One Cut of the Dead)

Oliver Chan Siu-kuen (Still Human)

Bai Xue (The Crossing)

Best actor

Yoo Ah-in (Burning)

Xu Zheng (Dying to Survive)

Aaron Kwok (Project Gutenberg)

Ranbir Kapoor (Sanju)

Koji Yakusho (The Blood of Wolves)

Best actress

Zhao Tao (Ash Is Purest White)

Samal Yeslyamova (Ayka)

Han Ji-min (Miss Baek)

Sakura Ando (Shoplifters)

Chloe Maayan (Three Husbands)

Best supporting actor

Zhang Yu (Dying to Survive)

Kwon Hae-hyo (Hotel by the River)

Shinya Tsukamoto (Killing)

Vicky Kaushal (Sanju)

River Huang (Tracey)

Best supporting actress

Jin Seo-yeon (Believer)

Ding Ning (Cities of Last Things)

Xu Qing (Hidden Man)

Mayu Matsuoka (Shoplifters)

Kara Wai (Tracey)

Best newcomer

Erika Karata (Asako I & II)

Jun Jong-seo (Burning)

Xie Zhangying (Cities of Last Things)

Johnny Huang (Operation Red Sea)

Huang Yao (The Crossing)

Chan Charm-man (Three Husbands)

Best screenplay

Ash Is Purest White


Dying to Survive

Project Gutenberg


Best editing


Operation Red Sea

Project Gutenberg


The Spy Gone North

Best cinematography



Manta Ray



Best original music






Best costume design

Hidden Man

Project Gutenberg

Punk Samurai Slash Down


The Spy Gone North

Best production design


Hidden Man




Best visual effects


Hidden Man

Operation Red Sea

Project Gutenberg

Punk Samurai Slash Down

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