Asian Film Awards: South Korea's 'Burning' Tops Nominations

Burning Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment

The movie earned eight mentions, while Japan's 'Shoplifters,' India's 'Sanju,' and China's 'Shadow' followed with six each as Chinese films and co-productions garnered a total of 34 noms.

It is a battle of legends.

While South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong's mystery drama Burning leads the nominations for the 13th Asian Film Awards with eight, Japanese modern master Hirokazu Kore-eda's Cannes-crowned Shoplifters, Hindi film industry hitmaker Rajkumar Hirani's blockbuster Sanju and Chinese cinema great Zhang Yimou's action epic Shadow are in hot pursuit with six each.

Lee, Kore-eda and Hirani will face each other in both the best film and best director categories, whereas all the noms bagged by Zhang's Shadow are for technical awards.

Chinese megahit Dying to Survive, which grossed $453 million in the country, and Chinese Tibetan-language road movie Jinpa, produced by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai, round out the best film competition. Jinpa's Tibetan helmer Pema Tseden and Hong Kong maverick Fruit Chan, nominated for the satire Three Husbands, are the other contenders in the best director race.

Burning, the first film directed by Lee in eight years, is also in the running for best actor, newcomer, screenplay, cinematography, production design and sound honors.

In the best actor and supporting actor categories, Sanju and Dying to Survive will battle it out with two noms each, with Xu Zheng and Ranbir Kapoor in contention for best actor and Zhang Yu and Vicky Kaushal for best supporting actor. Shoplifters also scored two acting mentions for Sakura Ando and Mayu Matsuoka in the best actress and supporting actress races, respectively.

As in previous years, Chinese films and co-productions continued to dominate the nominations, earning a total of 34 nods, with films from Japan and South Korea following with 14 each.  

Chinese-American actress-director Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks) will preside over the jury, which includes Academy Award-nominated Japanese actor Ken Watanabe.

The awards ceremony, set to be held March 17 by the Asian Film Awards Academy, will return to Hong Kong this year after taking place in Macau in 2018.

Below are the nominations in the major categories.

Best Film

Burning (South Korea)
Dying to Survive (China)
Jinpa (China)
Sanju (India)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Best Director

Lee Chang-dong, Burning
Pema Tseden, Jinpa
Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju
Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters
Fruit Chan, Three Husbands

Best Actor

Yoo Ah-in, Burning
Xu Zheng, Dying to Survive
Aaron Kwok, Project Gutenberg
Ranbir Kapoor, Sanju
Koji Yakusho, The Blood of Wolves

Best Actress

Zhao Tao, Ash Is Purest White
Samal Yeslyamova, Ayka
Han Ji-Min, Miss Baek
Sakura Ando, Shoplifters
Chloe Maayan, Three Husbands

Best Supporting Actor

Zhang Yu, Dying to Survive
Kwon Hae-hyo, Hotel by the River
Shinya Tsukamoto, Killing
Vicky Kaushal, Sanju
River Huang, Tracey

Best Supporting Actress

Jin Seo-yeon, Believer
Ding Ning, Cities of Last Things
Xu Qing, Hidden Man
Mayu Matsuoka, Shoplifters
Kara Wai, Tracey