'Life Without Principle' Warms Up for Oscars With Wins at Asia-Pacific Film Festival

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Hong Kong’s entry for the foreign language Academy Award takes film and supporting actor titles, with its Filipino counterpart bagging the actor prize.

HONG KONG – Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle was the big winner at the 55th Asia-Pacific Film Festival, with Hong Kong’s foreign-language Oscar candidate securing the best film and supporting actor prizes.

Having also recently secured three trophies at Taiwan’s Golden Horses awards, To’s suspense thriller – which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 – is gaining momentum at just the right time as the Academy readies to announce its nominees Jan. 10.

Other nominees of the festival’s top prize include Anurag Kashyap’s Cannes entry Gangs of Wasseypur; Hirokazu Kore-eda’s I Wish; Choo Chang-min’s Masquerade, which has just become the fourth most watched domestic production in South Korea; Australian Cate Shortland’s Germany-set World War II drama Lore; and Malaysian Dain Iskar Said’s thriller Bunohan.

Winning best supporting actor for Life Without Principle was the veteran Lo Hoi-pang, who secured the same title at the Hong Kong Film Awards in April.

Another Oscar candidate that shone at the awards, which was held at the Venetian casino resort in Macau on Dec. 15, is Jun Lana’s Bwakaw, the Philippines’ representative film this year. Eddie Garcia won the best actor award for his portrayal of a gay pensioner who falls in love with a tricycle driver helping him to care for his cancer-stricken dog.

Elsewhere, Kore-eda was named best director for I Wish, a drama about siblings seeking to meet each other after being forced to live apart by their estranged parents. Taiwan’s Gwai Lun-mei followed his best actress win at the Golden Horses with another victory for her performance in the romance drama Gf*Bf, and Makiko Watanabe was named best supporting actress for her stint as a young divorcee in Capturing Dad.