Tonight marks the 36th anniversary of the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA). This year’s event is filled with new directors, screenwriters, actors and actresses, indicating that the local movie industry is stepping into a new era. However, looking back, have you ever wondered when and where the first HKFA presentation took place? Why is the trophy a female statue? And who was the youngest Best Actress in HKFA’s history? Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about the HKFA.
Hong Kong Cultural Centre is not the only venue
The award ceremony has mostly been held at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre since 1991. Before then, there was no regular venue. As limited by budget and absence of board committees, the first HKFA ceremony in 1982 took place at the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s Shouson Theatre on a much smaller scale. That year, Michael Hui, who starred in Security Unlimited, was named Best Actor while Kara Wai won the Best Actress award for My Young Auntie.
The most awards won by a single film
Depicting the story of Wing Chun master Ip Man, The Grandmaster, directed by the legendary filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, won 12 of the 14 awards for which it was nominated the 33rd HKFA in 2014, breaking the record for the most awards won by a single film. Awards garnered by the martial arts epic included Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, etc.
Best dressed celebrity on the red carpet
The HKFA first presented the Best Dressed award in 2009 and the only celebrity who won the award twice was Sean Lau. In a Giorgio Armani tuxedo both in 2012 and 2013, Lau took the prize two years in a roll. The Best Dressed Actor and Actress last year were Jacky Cheung and Karena Lam.
Why is the trophy a female statue?
The statuette was not as ordinary as it might have seemed. A slender goddess with shoulder-length hair, wrapped in golden film, elegantly holds a pearl on her left hand. The designer of the trophy was actually inspired by Olivia Cheng, the winner of Miss Hong Kong 1979. It became the official HKFA trophy since it was first presented at the 10th HKFA in 1991.
Record holders of Best Actor and Best Actress awards
Not surprisingly, the answers are Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung. They have both won the title five times.
Perhaps Wong Kar-wai is a great talent scout. Leung’s Best Actor wins, except that of Infernal Affairs (2003), were all directed by Wong, including Chungking Express (1995), Happy Together (1998), In the Mood for Love (2001) and 2046 (2005).
However, Tony Leung will have to share his throne with Tony Leung Ka-fai, one of this year’s Best Actor nominees for Cold War 2, if the latter triumphs tonight.
Cheung first won the Best Actress award in 1990 for A Fishy Story and then Center Stage in 1993; Comrades: Almost a Love Story in 1997; The Soong Sisters in 1998 and In the Mood for Love in 2001.
The youngest Best Actress winner
You will be disappointed if you think it’s Jessie Li of Port of Call or Cecilia Cheung of Lost in Time. They were both 23 when they won the award. Let’s go all the way back to 34 years ago, at the second HKFA in 1983, when Becky Lam of Lonely Fifteen was named Best Actress at the tender age of 17.