'Bodyguards,' 'Mother' top AFA noms

Chinese-language films lead field with 32 nods

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong-China co-production “Bodyguards and Assassins” and South Korea’s “Mother” topped the 4th Asian Film Awards nominations with each grabbing nods in six categories, organizers announced Wednesday.

Chinese-language films from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan led the pack with 32 nominations in 14 categories, followed by South Korea with 17 and Japan with 13.

The Teddy Chen-directed and Peter Chan-produced “Bodyguards” was nominated for best film, best production designer for Kenneth Mak, best actor for Wang Xueqi, best supporting actor for Nicholas Tse, best newcomer for Li Yuchun and Dora Ng for the newly introduced category of best costume designer. 

Bong Joon-ho was nominated for best director and best screenwriter along with Park Eun-Kyo for his “Mother," which also nabbed nominations for best film, best actress for Kim Hye-ja, best supporting actor for Won Bin, and best editor for Moon Sae-kyoung.

This year’s nominations saw a diverse mix of films from over nine countries across Asia, including Iran, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. “The diversity shows that there are distinctive Asian films growing to withstand Hollywood hegemony. For example, films from South Korea and Japan stand out with their delicate portrayals of humanity,” said Wilfred Wong, chairman of the AFA board of directors. 

"The variety of this year’s nominations is proof of the growth of quality Asian films.  More films are made and the market is increasingly competitive.  It gave us more choices,” Peter Lam, Media Asia mogul and AFA board member told The Hollywood Reporter. But he also has faith in Hong Kong to remain the leader of the Asian film industry. “Scripts from Hong Kong writers are used all over the world,” he said.

Tony Leung Ka-Fai (“The Lover”) will head the festival's jury, and said besides jury duties, as a host he would introduce his 12 fellow jury members to Hong Kong as a platform for co-producing films locally and in China. 

Organized by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, the awards will be handed out on March 22 as the opening gala of the annual Entertainment Expo and held concurrently with the Hong Kong Filmart and Hong Kong International Film Festival. 

The awards ceremony, which Wong said had a production budget of HK$10 million (US$1.3 million), will be shown on delayed broadcast on Star TV via the Fox channel and Star Chinese Movies in Southeast Asia. Organizers are now in negotiations with terrestrial and satellite broadcasters in China to bring the ceremony to the rest of the country, said Shaw Soo Wei, executive director of the HKIFF Society.

List of Nominations in Main Categories:

Best Film
“Bodyguards and Assassins” (Hong Kong/ China)
“City of Life and Death” (China)
“Lola” (The Philippines)
“Mother” (South Korea)
“No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti” (Taiwan)
“Parade” (Japan)

Best Director
Bong Joon-ho, “Mother”
Asghar Farhadi, “About Elly”
Lu Chuan, “Cith of Life and Death”
Brilliante Mendoza, “Lola”
Sono Sion, “Love Exposure”
Yonfan, “Prince of Tears”

Best Actress
Bae Doo-na, “Air Doll”
Kim Hye-ja, “Mother”
Li Bing-bing, “The Message”
Matsu Takako, “Villon’s Wife”
Sandrine Pinna, “Yang Yang”

Best Actor
Asano Tadanobu, “Villon’s Wife”
Huang Bo, “Cow”
Matsumoto Hitoshi, “Symbol”
Song Kang-ho, “Thirst”
Wang Xue-qi, “Bodyguards and Assassins”

Best Supporting Actress
Ando Sakura, “A Crowd of Three”
Hirosue Ryoko, “Villon’s Wife”
Kim Kkob-bi, “Breathless”
Wai Ying-hung, “At the End of Daybreak”
Yan Ni, “Cow”

Best Supporting Actor
Eita, “Dear Doctor”
Huang Xiao-ming, “The Message”
Tou Chung-hua, “The Warrior and the Wolf”
Nicholas Tse, “Bodyguards and Assassins”
Won Bin, “Mother”

Best Newcomer
Sonam Kapoor, “Delhi 6”
Kim Sae-ron, “A Brand New Life”
Li Yu-chun, “Bodyguards and Assassins”
Ng Meng-hui, “At the End of Daybreak”
Zhu Xuan, “Prince of Tears”

Best Screenwriter
Asghar Farhadi, “About Elly”
Hong Sang-soo, “Like You Know It All”
Park Eun-kyo & Bong Joon-ho, “Mother”
Phan Dang-di, “Adrift”
Wai Ka-fai & Au Kin-yee, “Written By”