Australian Academy Unveils Best Asian Film Nominees

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
'Parasite'

Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner 'Parasite' and China's 'Ne Zha' are among the big releases that made the shortlist.

Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, from South Korea, and Ne Zha, China’s entry for consideration in the international feature film Oscar category, are two of nine movies set to vie for the Asian Film Award for best film, to be handed out by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) in December. 

The prize honors the best film of the year from 19 territories across Asia and is the cornerstone of AACTA’s Asian Engagement Program. 

Three pics each from India and China and one each from the Philippines, Japan and South Korea make up the nominations in the category, the third year the AACTA has focused an award on Asian cinema. 

India’s nominees include Zoya Akhtar’s coming-of-age drama Gully Boy, which is India’s submission for consideration in the international feature film Oscar category; Super Deluxe, which saw lead actor Vijay Sethupathi win best actor honors at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne this year for his role as a transgender woman who returns to her wife and son; and Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, a critical and audience favorite at the Indian box office this year. 

Zhang Yimou’s Shadow, inspired by Chinese ink brush painting and the tai chi symbol, and Frant Gwo’s The Wandering Earth, China’s first foray into big-budget sci-films, join the animated box office hit Ne Zha as the films nominated from China. 

Other nominees include the hit romantic comedy Hello Love, Goodbye from female Filipino director Cathy Garcia-Molina and Makoto Nagahisa’s debut feature, We Are Little Zombies from Japan, which picked up awards at this year's Sundance and Berlin film fests. 

Russell Crowe will again be president of the jury, leading Australian director and producer Paul Currie; director, producer and screenwriter Renny Harlin; and Japanese producer Adam Torel, who are all returning jurors. They will be joined by new grand jury members including Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee; Indian director, producer and writer Anurag Kashyap; Chinese producer Virginia Lok; and Chinese actress Chloe Maayan.   

“It is exciting to see such exceedingly high standard of quality filmmaking from the nominees for the Best Asian Film Award,” AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said Tuesday in a statement. “There is a fast-growing interest in Asian film, both here in Australia and abroad. It is wonderful to see how responsive Australian audiences are to the films crafted by our neighboring Asian film industries, which continue to inspire us in our own work.” 

The winner of the Asian Film Award for best film will be announced Dec. 4 in Sydney as part of the 2019 AACTA Awards.