Analysis and Coverage by: Andrew Chan AACTA FCCA FIPRESCI
Attended as guest of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 in Hong Kong on April 13th.
Also published in various Australian and Chinese media.
The 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 was held on the 13 April 2013 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. What impressed me about the event is the audience are kept mostly entertained for the entire duration, whether it is the singing acts in between or the in-jokes cracked by the various presenters. It is usually the highlight of the annual film award show in Hong Kong.
This year’s biggest winner remains the highly overrated “COLD WAR“, winning in 9 categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Newcomer and Best Screenplay. “COLD WAR” isn’t a bad film, but it is at best an average film event that is done on a larger scale. The first half of the film is certainly stunning as wall to wall tension is constantly built, however, the film fails miserably in the second half as everything seems to point to an inevitable sequel. Still, Tony Leung Ka Fai is fully justified in receiving the Best Actor award as his menacing and controlling performance is second to none and is at his expressive best. A deserved 4th Best Actor crown for a true veteran of Hong Kong cinema. With that being said, multiple award winners Longman Leung and Sunny Luk does craft a wonderful script, but the film suffers from rather average direction and overall pacing issues. Another aspect worthy of debate is the terrible performance by Best Newcomer Alex Tsui, who looks nothing like an ICAC commissioner, despite being one himself in his other lifetime. It is shame as there are others far more worthy contenders in that category.
The other big winner of the night, is one of my favourite Hong Kong movies of 2012, “VULGARIA“. Ronald Cheng deservedly steals in show in “VULGARIA” as the lavish mainlander with a definite odd taste for food, women and the star of the show – Donkey. Cheng won the Best Supporting Actor award as he tells of his former life as spoil brat and how Andy Lau’s words of wisdom made him a changed man. A wonderfully timed emotional moment for both Cheng and the crowd. The biggest surprise of the night goes to winner of Best Supporting Actress, Dada Chen, who gracefully accepts the award. It is certainly Chen’s best performance, if you count “LAN KWAI FONG”, as she is able to engage the audience with laughter and provides an adequate chemistry with co-star Chapman To, which in turn is the driving force to the success of “VULGARIA“. However, I stand by my words, Chen does adequately without being entirely successful, and could have expressed more from her character rather than being one dimensional. Still, I am sure Chen with the encouragement of the award will continue to strife for better things and improvement.
Pang Ho Cheung / Miriam Yeung
While Pang Ho Cheung didn’t win any awards directly, both his films “VULGARIA” and “LOVE IN THE BUFF” featured heavily in almost all the major acting dons, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Miriam Yeung is a bit of a dark horse, while her performance is certainly natural and have shown improvements from her numerous romantic comedy roles, there was a striking lack of chemistry between Shawn Yue and Yeung. While “LOVE IN THE BUFF” is easily a good film, I thought mainland actress Mini Yang flairs just as well comparatively, if not better. However, Yang is not nominated in any category this year. Nothing can be taken away from what Yeung is able to achieve and like how she puts it herself “many people may not consider this to be my best performance, but I know I will continue to improve to that level.” Still, the award is probably deserved as she is the only nominated role that clearly portrays a highly local Hong Kong female character in the most natural manner. Although many will argue that Sammi Cheng is unlucky not to win the award, as she was almost flawless in “ROMANCING IN THIN AIR“.
Jacky Cheung singing
The highlight of the night goes to Jacky Cheung, who clearly sang the roof off in his rendition for “THE LAST TYCOON“. His ability to draw the crowd in and climax at the most crucial moments is one of the reason why Cheung remains the best singer of the four heavenly kings. Another high point goes to Anthony Wong’s series of remembrance after a decade of the late Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui.
Overall, Hong Kong Film Awards Association should be complimented for putting on a good show as the audience is constantly entertained and the presenters selection is pretty much spot on. As for the awards, it always open to debate and I am sure they have good reasons for winners of every category, even if you don’t entirely agree. Once again, congratulation to all the winners of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 and see you all next year.
*Winners in BOLD
Pang Ho Cheung, Luk Yee Sum, and Lam Chiu Wing (Vulgaria)
Pang Ho Cheung, Luk Yee Sum (Love in the Buff)
Law Chi Leung, Yeung Sin Ling (The Bullet Vanishes)
Longman Leung, Sunny Luk (Cold War)
Alan Mak and Felix Chong (The Silent War)
Yau Chi Wai (CZ12)
David Richardson and Allen Leung (Motorway)
Chung Wai Chiu (The Viral Factor)
Kwong Chi Leung and Ron Chan (The Bullet Vanishes)
Kwong Chi Leung and Wong Hoi (Cold War)
Best Art Direction
Yee Chung Man and Eric Lam (The Last Tycoon)
Yip Kam Tim (Tai Chi 0)
Lau Sai Wan (The Guillotines)
Silver Cheung and Lee Kin Wai (The Bullet Vanishes)
Man Lim Chung (The Silent War)
Best Costume Design and Make-Up
Yee Chung Man and Jessie Dai (The Great Magician)
Yip Kam Tim (Tai Chi 0)
Dora Ng (The Guillotines)
Stanley Cheung (The Bullet Vanishes)
Man Lim Chung (The Silent War)
Best Action Choreography
Jackie Chan and He Jun (Chinese Zodiac)
Sammo Hung (Tai Chi 0)
Chin Ka Lok and Wong Wai Fai, Ng Hoi Tong (Motorway)
Dante Lam, Chin Ka Lok, Wong Wai Fai, Ng Hoi Tong (The Viral Factor)
Chin Ka Lok and Wong Wai Fai (Cold War)
Best Original Film Score
Chan Kwong Wing and Yu Peng (The Last Tycoon)
Teddy Robin and Tommy Wai (The Bullet Vanishes)
Peter Kam (Cold War)
Eman Lam and Veronica Lee (Diva)
Chan Kwong Wing (The Silent War)
Best Visual Effects
Han Young Woo, Victor Wong, Patrick Chui, and Seong Ho Jang (CZ12)
Chas Chau, Kim Ho, Ng Yuen Fai, and A Law (Tai Chi 0)
Victor Wong (The Guillotines)
Law Wai Ho and Hellowing Cheung (Motorway)
Cecil Cheng (Cold War)
Best New Director
Chow Hin Yeung (Nightfall)
Brian Tse (McDull: The Pork of Music)
Fung Chih Chiang (The Bounty)