In a David and Goliath battle, the low budget kung fu comedy Gallants ((打擂台, pinyin: Dǎ Lèi Tái) was named Best Film at the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards, ahead of its big budget rival, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (狄仁杰之通天帝国). An ode to the golden days of Hong Kong martial arts films, Gallants had earlier this year taken out the Hong Kong Film Critics Best Film Award, giving it the double of major Hong Kong film awards.
Gallants features a host of Shaw Brothers kung fu stars from the 60s and 70s, including Siu Yam-yam (邵音音, pinyin: Shào Yīnyīn) who was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her Gallants performance. Her Gallants co-star, veteran singer-songwriter Teddy Robin (泰迪罗宾, pinyin: Tàidí Luóbīn) took home two gongs: Best Supporting Actor for his scene-stealing performance as a martial arts guru, and Best Original Film Score, also for Gallants.
Although Detective Dee missed out on the big prize, it won six awards to make it the most successful film of the night. The judges proved they had a sentimental side by awarding the Best Actress prize to Carina Lau (刘嘉玲, pinyin: Liú Jiālíng - pictured left with Best Actor winner Nicholas Tse) for her performance as China's first female ruler, the Empress Wu Zetian. After six nominations, the 45 year old Lau finally broke through for her first Best Actress award - despite it not being her most memorable performance and, theoretically, probably belonging in the Supporting Actress category. Detective Dee's director, Tsui Hark (徐克, pinyin: Xú Kè) won Best Director, twenty years after his first and only other Best Director award - for the kung fu classic Once Upon A Time in China back in 1991.
Best Actor went to Nicholas Tse (谢霆锋, pinyin: Xiè Tíngfēng) for his performance in the title role of the crime actioner The Stool Pigeon (线人). Tse had previously won Best New Performer at the Hong Kong Film Awards back when he was an 18 year-old in 1998, and also won Best Supporting Actor last year for Bodyguards and Assassins.
This year's Best New Performer was given to Hanjin Tan (陈奂仁, pinyin: Chén Huànrén), the Singaporean singer-songwriter now turned actor. He was recognised for his performance in the otherwise disappointing martial arts biopic, Bruce Lee, My Brother (李小龙). Best Asian Film went to the Japanese drama Confessions, ahead of mainland productions Aftershock and Under the Hawthorn Tree, the Taiwanese gangster flic Monga and the Taiwanese-Australian co-production Seven Days In Heaven. The evening's biggest loser was the martial arts epic Reign of Assassins - nominated in 11 categories but going home empty-handed.
A complete list of award winners can be found at this AsiaOne webpage.