Hong Kong films miss the limelight as co-productions take centre stage at film awards nominations
Co-productions with mainland take centre stage at nominations for Hong Kong Film Awards
Hong Kong cinema is losing out to mainland co-productions, with just one wholly locally made film competing for the best film in the Hong Kong Film Awards.
The Midnight After, a sci-fi thriller directed by Fruit Chan, received eight nominations including best film, while Chan is nominated for best director.
The ensemble film based on a hit internet novel tells the story of a group of people taking a red minibus in Mong Kok to Tai Po. But as it passes the Lion Rock tunnel, passengers find themselves arriving at a deserted Tai Po.
Partly funded by the Hong Kong Film Development Fund, it was named best film of 2014 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society last month. Chan was also voted best director by critics.
The Midnight After is also competing for best screenplay, best supporting actor and actress, best cinematography, original film score and visual effects. But it faces challenges from Overheard 3, the third instalment of the crime thriller series directed by Alan Mak Shiu-fai and Felix Chong Man-keung.
Set against the backdrop of small house controversies in the New Territories, the Hong Kong-mainland co-production earned 11 nominations including best film, best director, best screenplay and cinematography. It also landed best actor nomination for Lau Ching-wan and two supporting actor nominations for Alex Fong and Kenneth Tsang.
Ann Hui On-wah's The Golden Era, a biopic of Republic period novelist Xiao Hong, Peter Chan Ho-sun's romantic drama Dearest, and Pang Ho-cheung's drama Aberdeen - all Hong Kong-mainland co-productions - are also in the running for best film. While Hui and Chan are also competing for best director.
Mainland talents starring in some of the co-productions are also taking centre stage in many categories.
Among the five best actor nominations, only two are Hong Kong actors - Daniel Wu for That Demon Within and Lau Ching-wan, who was also nominated for his performance in Insanity. Mainland star Huang Bo is in the race with Dearest. Eddie Peng Yu-yan was nominated for his role as kung fu master Wong Fei-hung in Rise of the Legend.
Three out of five best actress nominations are mainland stars - Tang Wei for The Golden Era, Zhao Wei for Dearest and Zhou Xun for Women Who Flirt. Sandra Ng Kwan-yu, who plays a prostitute in Golden Chickensss, and Charlene Choi , who played a journalist in Sara, are the only contenders from Hong Kong.
The awards ceremony will take place on April 19 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Best film:The Midnight After, Aberdeen, The Golden Era, Dearest, Overheard 3
Best director: Fruit Chan (The Midnight After), Ann Hui On-wah (The Golden Era), Peter Chan Ho-sun (Dearest), Dante Lam (That Demon Within), Alan Mak Shiu-fai and Felix Chong Man-keung (Overheard 3)
Best actor: Eddie Peng Yu-yan (Rise of the Legend), Lau Ching-wan (Insanity), Huang Bo (Dearest), Daniel Wu (That Demon Within), Lau Ching-wan (Overheard 3)
Best actress: Sandra Ng Kwan-yu (Golden Chickensss), Tang Wei (The Golden Era), Zhou Xun (Women Who Flirt), Zhao Wei (Dearest), Charlene Choi (Sara)
Best screenplay: Chan Fai-hung, Kong Ho-yan, Fruit Chan (The Midnight After), Pang Ho-cheung (Aberdeen), Li Qiang (The Golden Era), Zhang Ji (Dearest), Alan Mak Shiu-fai & Felix Chong Man-keung (Overheard 3)
Source: Hong Kong Film Awards