'The Golden Era' is big winner at Hong Kong 'Oscars'
Movie takes five gongs as Ann Hui named best director for fifth time; 'Overheard 3' also hailed
Veteran director Ann Hui On-wah's The Golden Era was the biggest winner at the star-studded 34th Hong Kong Film Awards last night, scooping up five prizes.
The movie picked up the best picture and best director awards for Hui - her fifth for directing - as well as for art direction, cinematography and costume and make-up design.
Close behind was crime thriller Overheard 3, which won the best actor prize for Sean Lau Ching-wan - only the second time he has won it despite 16 nominations since the 1990s - the best screenplay and the first best supporting actor award for veteran Kenneth Tsang Kong.
Mainland star Zhao Wei won her first best actress award for her role as a child abductor's wife in Dearest. The best supporting actress and the best new performer awards went to Hong Kong singer-turned-actress Ivana Wong Yuen-chi, who played a prostitute in Golden Chickensss.
This year's nominations saw Hong Kong movies losing out to mainland co-productions, with sci-fi thriller The Midnight After being the only wholly locally made production competing for best film.
But receiving the best screenplay award, screenwriter Felix Chong Man-keung of Overheard 3 dismissed claims Hong Kong's film industry had lost its way.
"I felt weird as I came tonight, because in the past year many people told me that Hong Kong cinema is dead, so I wondered, could this place be haunted as I see so many people here?" he said.
Overheard 3 is the third instalment of a crime thriller series. It is set against the backdrop of the small- house controversies in the New Territories, which have become a hot topic amid Hong Kong's acute housing and land shortage.
Before presenting the best director award to Hui, outspoken actor Anthony Wong Chau-sang referred to the campaign in Hong Kong for "true universal suffrage". Wong said he had told the organisers that he "truly wanted" to be the MC but was told that he could be "too risky" a choice.
"In the end I was told, 'OK, let's talk and would you pocket the role for presenting the best director award instead?'" Wong added, referring to a phrase commonly used by ministers in the political reform debate.
In October, Wong was among several celebrities criticised in a Xinhua commentary for backing Hong Kong's mass democracy protests.
Dubbed the Oscars of Hong Kong, the ceremony - held at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui - is one of the most prestigious film-industry events in the region.