The martial arts action film, Bodyguards and Assassins (十月围城), dominates nominations for the prestigious Hong Kong Film Awards (HFKAs) announced last week. The HFKA, Hong Kong's most important film awards, give out trophies in 19 categories, and Bodyguards and Assassins was nominated in 16 of those categories. The only categories in which it failed to score a nomination were Best Actress (the film doesn't have a female lead), Best New Director (Teddy Chan isn't eligible) and Best Asian Film (ie non-Hong Kong films only). The film, a critical and box office success, is a good chance to win the most awards in the HFKA's 29 year history, a record currently held by the 1996 romantic epic Comrades: Almost a Love Story which won 9 awards.
Bodyguards and Assassins main rivals for Best Film are Red Cliff II (赤壁 决战天下), the second part of the 3rd century historical epic, and Overheard (窃听风云), a thriller that has already been named best movie at the Ming Pao Awards in November. Other contenders are Jackie Chan's mob movie set in Japan, Shinjuku Incident (新宿事件), and the documentary KJ Music and Life which provides an insight into a musical prodigy.
Veteran director Ann Hui (许鞍华, pinyin: Xǔ Ānhuá) will attempt to become the most awarded directed in HFKA history. She was nominated for Night and Fog, the second of two films she has directed which looks at the denizens of the border town Tin Shui Wai. Hui, an HFKA favourite, has won three times previously. She first won in1983 for her film focusing on the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Boat People. In 1996 she won for the family drama Summer Snow, and took out her third award last year for The Way We Are, part one in the Tin Shui Wai series. She will be up against Bodyguards and Assassins director Teddy Chen (陈德森, pinyin: Chén Désēn), Hollywood success story John Woo (吴宇森, pinyin: Wú Yǔsēn - Red Cliff II), Derek Lee (尔冬升, pinyin: Ěr Dōngshēng - Shinjuku Incident) and co-directors of Overheard, Alan Mak (麦兆辉, pinyin: Mài Zhàohuī) and Felix Chong (庄文强, pinyin: Zhuāng Wénqiáng).
Simon Yam (任达华, pinyin: Rén Dáhuá) doubled his chances of taking out the Best Actor Award with two nominations. The prolific actor (in just the period 2007-09 alone he appeared in 18 movies) was nominated for Night and Fog for his role as domestic violence bully and also for sixties period piece Echoes of the Rainbow. Yam has been nominated eight times previously for either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor but has never won before. Also nominated is Bodyguards and Assassins' star Wang Xueqi (王学圻) - already a Best Actor winner for the role at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards. If Wang wins he will be the first ever non-Hong Kong actor to win the HFKA Best Actor Award. Sean Lau (刘青云, pinyin: Liú Qīngyún) for Overheard, and Aaron Kwok (郭富城, pinyin: Guō Fùchéng) for his performance as a police detective in Murderer are the other two contenders. Jackie Chan, ten-times nominated but never awarded the prize, was again shunned by the HFKA - this time he wasn't even nominated for his performance in Shinjuku Incident.
Kara Hui (惠英红, Wai Ying-hung) was the inaugural winner of the HFKA Best Actress award back in 1982 for Young Aunty. Now the Hong Kong actress, who just turned 50, is one of the favourites to win her second for her performance as an over-protective mother in At the End of Daybreak. Mainland stars Vicki Zhao (赵薇, pinyin: Zhào Wéi) and Zhang Jingchu (张静初) are up for their roles in Mulan and The Way We Are respectively. Taiwan's Shu Qi (舒淇 - Look for a Star) and local actress Sandra Ng (吴君如, pinyin: Wú Jūnrú - Echoes of the Rainbow) who was a Best Actress winner in 1998.
The full nomination list can be found at the Far East Films website. The winners will be announced on April 18.