'Gallants,' 'Detective Dee' the Big Winners at Hong Kong Film Awards

Tsui Hark's period piece takes home six trophies from 12 awards.

HONG KONG -- Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame swept the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards, winning six awards from its 12 nominations, including best director for Tsui Hark, while Gallants showed its resilience by taking home best film and three other awards.

Tsui won his second best director award since Once Upon A Time in China in 1991 with the visual extravaganza, which has earned the first best actress statue for lead Carina Lau after five previous nominations in the role of the only female Chinese empress Wu Zetian, and four awards in sound design, visual effects, costume make up design, and art direction categories.

But the retro action-comedy Gallants proved to be the little film that could, walking off with the biggest award of the night. “Gallants’ spirit is the true spirit of Hong Kong film,” said producer Gordon Lam, while an exuberant Kwok proclaimed onstage the cult hit’s central message, “If you don’t fight you won’t lose, but we only fight to win!”

Made with $1 million from the pocket of Focus Films owner and acting star Andy Lau, produced by Gordon Lam and co-directed by Derek Kwok and Clement Cheng, Gallants’ cast picked from veterans of Shaw Brothers classics and 1980s actors shone. The film’s Susan Shaw Yin-yin reteamed with director Kwok to win her second best supporting actress award since her role in The Pye-Dog in 2007, while actor-musician Teddy Robin won double honor with awards for best supporting actor and best original film score, the latter with Tommy Leung Wai-kai.

Also on a roll was Nicholas Tse, who followed up his best supporting actor win last year with a best actor award for The Stool Pigeon.

The Hong Kong Film Awards celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, giving out awards in 19 competitive categories and two honorary categories.

The professional achievement award was presented to the manager to the superstars, Willie Chan, by Golden Harvest founder Raymond Chow.For over 30 years, Chan nurtured the career of Jackie Chan, and managed a list of film luminaries including Maggie Cheung, Jackie Cheung, and Daniel Wu. As a producer, Chan was behind Jackie Chan’s starring vehicles from Supercop in 1992 to Shinjuku Incident in 2009.

The lifetime achievement award was given to Terry Lai, the founder-chairman of Kadokawa Intercontinental Group, who established in 1969 the Hong Kong film distribution powerhouse. The group which now encompasses operations in foreign and local film distribution, video, advertising, video game distribution, merchandising, and the theatre chain Multiplex Cinema Ltd. Lai has also distributed Hong Kong action films to international territories, and was one of the founding members and the first chairman of the Hong Kong Motion Pictures Association.

List of awards:

Best Film



Best Director

Tsui Hark, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Actress

Carina LauDetective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Actor

Nicholas Tse, The Stool Pigeon


Best Supporting Actress

Susan Shaw Yin-yin, Gallants


Best Supporting Actor

Teddy Robin, Gallants


Best Newcomer

Hanjin Tan, Bruce Lee My Brother


Best New Director

Felix Chong, Once a Gangster


Best Screenplay

Pang Ho-cheung & Heiward Mak, Love in a Puff


Best Cinematographer

Peter Pau, Confucius


Best Film Editing

Cheung Ka-fai, Ip Man 2


Best Sound Design

Wang Danrong and Zhao Nan, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Visual Effects

Lee Yong Gi and Nam Sang Woo, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Costume Make Up Design

Bruce YuDetective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Art Direction

James ChooDetective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Best Action Choreography

Sammo Hung, Ip Man 2


Best Original Film Score

Teddy Robin and Tommy Leung Wai-kai, Gallants


Best Original Film Song

Here to Stay (Jun Kung), Merry-Go-Round


Best Asian Film



Professional Achievement Award

Willie Chan


Lifetime Achievement Award

Terry Lai