Bodyguards and Assassins (十月围城), the semi-fictional action drama set in 1905 about a team of bodyguards formed to protect revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen, won eight awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA) on Sunday. That made it the equal second most successful film in HKFA history - along with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Warlords. The 1997 film Comrades: Amost A Love Story holds the record with nine awards.
Bodyguards and Assassins' haul of trophies on the night included Best Film and Best Director (Teddy Chen - 陈德森, pinyin: Chén Désēn). It also earned Nicholas Tse (谢霆锋, pinyin: Xiè Tíngfēng) a Best Supporting Actor trophy for his performance as a loyal rickshaw driver enlisted to help save the revolutionary hero from Imperial assassins. The film also won awards for cinematography, art direction, costumes, action choreography and film score.
Simon Yam (任达华, pinyin: Rén Dáhuá) was a popular Best Actor winner, after being nominated several times in the past but never taking the prize. He won for Echoes of the Rainbow in which he played a battling shoemaker bringing up a family in the working class district of Sheung Wan in the 1960s. The low-budget film directed by Alex Law has been a surprise hit with audiences, and earlier this year won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Echoes of a Rainbow won four HKFAs in total. In a bit of a surprise, Aarif Lee (李治廷, pinyin: Lǐ Zhìtíng) was named Best Newcomer for his role as the elder son, and the film also won Best Screenplay and Best Song.
Best Actress winner was Kara Hui (惠英红, Wai Ying-hung) for her moving portrayal of an over-protective mother in At the End of Daybreak. Hui, who turned 50 two months ago, began her movie career in the 1970s as a kung fu action heroine. One of her best-known martial arts roles was in My Young Auntie in 1982, for which she won Best Actress at the inaugural Hong Kong Film Award. Hui gave an emotional acceptance speech on receiving her second HFKA, recounting her battle with depression when her career floundered. In a nice piece of symmetry, Lau Kar-Leung (刘家良, pinyin: Liú Jiāliáng), the director and martial arts choreography who discovered Hui, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Michelle Ye (叶璇, pinyin: Yè Xuán) in the Johnnie To directed action thriller Accident. Ye, a former beauty pageant winner, is best-known as a TV actress. Her decision to turn her back on a lucrative contract renewal with TVB so as to focus on her film career now appears to be vindicated after the critical success of her Accident performance.
The full list of winners can be found at the Asia One website.