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South Korean director Yoon Jong-bin’s crime epic Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time and art-house favorite Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta were among the nominees announced Wednesday for the 7th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, which organizes the awards, unveiled this year’s contenders in 14 categories, and announced that local A-list actor Andy Lau will serve as president of the judging panel.
Coming off a record-breaking year at the box office, South Korea made a strong showing on Wednesday, earning nominations in every category.
Art-house favorite Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta, which won the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice International Film Festival, picked up nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress for Cho Min-soo. And the star-studded action movie The Thieves, which became the most-watched South Korean film of all time last year with over 13 million admissions, earned four nominations.
Nameless Gangster earned six nominations, but not for Best Film or Best Director.
For India, crime drama Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1&2, directed Anurag Kashyap, leads the way with four nominations, including Best Film and Best Director.
Creating a little awards season intrigue, Chinese director Lou Ye has been nominated for Best Director for his romantic drama Mystery, which also landed a Best Film nomination, despite the fact that Lou refused to be credited in the titles of the Mainland China release, because of late changes made to the film by government censors. Whether or not Lou will accept the award should he get the nod could generate some suspense on awards night.
Veteran Filipino actor Eddie Garcia, nominated in the Best Actor category, will try to pick up another statue for his turn as a curmudgeonly gay man in Bwakaw (written and directed by Jun Lana), which was the Philippines’ official Oscar entry this year. Garcia’s performance won him the prize for Best Actor at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Macau last month.
Organizers in Hong Kong also announced the theme of this year’s AFA awards showl: ‘An Eye on Asian Cinema.’
Roger Garcia, executive director of the HKIFFS, said the theme “underlines the AFA’s role as a beacon and monitor of what is going on in our part of the world for the international film community and moviegoers.”
The Asian Film Awards will be presented at an awards ceremony in the Grand Hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on March 18 – the same night the Hong Kong International Film Festival kicks off.
“Over the past six years, the Asian Film Awards have helped to give global exposure to films and talents from our part of the world,” said Wilfred Wong, chairman of HKIFFS. “Our Awards have encouraged understanding between different cultures, and brought together the film industries of our region.”
Perhaps best representing that spirit of pan-Asian collaboration and understanding, Abbas Kiarostami was on Wednesday nominated as Best Director for his film Like Someone in Love, a Japan-France-Iran co-production.
Afghanistan also saw its inaugural AFA nomination. Golshifteh Farahani is in the running for a Best Actress award for her role in The Patience Stone from Afghani writer-director Atiq Rahimi.
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