The awards journey of Wong Kar Wai's long-gestating martial arts history epic continues. Though The Grandmaster didn't win a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, it nevertheless became one of those rare subtitled pictures to become a multiple Oscar nominee even without that honor. Though it's not likely to win either of its Oscar nominations, more trophies might be coming its way. It lost the Golden Horse for Best Picture, Asia's most prestigious film trophy, but now it leads the Hong Kong Film Award nominations with 14 nominations. Its nearest rival is Unbeatable, a fight tournament movie with 11 nominations which is really much closer to a Hollywood style inspirational sports drama like Warrior. (I reviewed the latter at TIFF last year.)
For those who, like me, are confused at the amount of different film awards for the Chinese film industry, I have asked and it works out something like so. There are three major regions (Taiwan, China, Hong Kong) and they each have film awards; The Golden Horse are from Taiwan and are considered the most prestigious because they have the widest open playing field (all three major regions are eligible for prizes plus places like Singapore -- which took Best Picture for Ilo Ilo if you'll recall) and they are the oldest and thus an institution; the Hong Kong Film Awards concentrate on Hong Kong cinema and China's Golden Rooster concentrates on mainland China... though in all three cases certain films work around the rules. It was ever so in film awards from anywhere, yes?
The nominee list, with more commentary, is after the jump
- The Grandmaster
- The White Storm
- The Way We Dance
- Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
I haven't heard of the other three pictures. Would anyone care to tell us about them?
- Wong Kar-wai, The Grandmaster
- Johnnie To, Drug War
- Benny Chan, The White Storm
- Derek Kwok, As the Light Goes Out
- Dante Lam, Unbeatable
- Zhang Ziyi, The Grandmaster
- Sammi Cheng, The Blind Detective
- Paw Hee Ching, Rigor Mortis
- Tang Wei, Finding Mr. Right
- Cherry Ngan, The Way We Dance
Nice to see Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) gainfully employed again. Now can we get some of her pictures over here in the US please? Ziyi took the Golden Horse for her mesmerizing cool in The Grandmaster. Will she win again? Will America ever care about her again or was that only a 2000-2005 thing?
- Nick Cheung, Unbeatable
- Sean Lau, The White Storm
- Anthony Wong, Ip Man: The Final Fight
- Tony Leung Chiu-wai, The Grandmaster
- Louis Koo, The White Storm
Interesting how many movies there are about Ip Man lately, huh? By my count that's at least three in the past few years. Nick Cheung is really good in Unbeatable as a small time crook / failed fighter trying to become a stand up guy.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Helena Law, The White Storm
- Carina Lau, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
- Crystal Lee, Unbeatable
- Kara Wai, Rigor Mortis
- Du Juan, American Dreams in China
Awww, the Leung/Lau household gets to celebrate dual nominations. (If you're like "what?" please note that Tony Leung Chiu Wai, TFE's favorite Asian movie star of all time, is married to Carina Lau)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Zhang Jin, The Grandmaster
- Tong Dawei, American Dreams in China
- Huang Bo, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
- Eddie Peng, Unbeatable
- Anthony Chan, Rigor Mortis
Hmmm. Eddie Peng is totally a lead in Unbeatable. It's one of those two lead same gender movies so I guess even Asian film awards like to play fast and loose with Category Fraud in those instances. It's not a romantic drama but they do have a silly faux kissing scene as fighting mentor and aggressive student. FWIW Zhang Jin plays the enemy of Zhang Ziyi's family in The Grandmaster, the one she fights in that absurdly beautiful train station showdown.
BEST NEW PERFORMER
- Du Juan (American Dreams In China)
- Fish Liew (Doomsday Party)
- Lin Gengxin (Young Detective Dee : Rise Of The Sea Dragon)
- Babyjohn Choi (The Way We Dance)
- Angel Chiang (A Secret Between Us)
Here is what they look like in case their newish careers actually do pan out (unless Google images did me wrong). Don't you sometimes wish the Oscars had this category? So many other country's film awards do. Even the Golden Globes jettisoned this type of award. Probably too embarrassing in the long run because who ever knows about actors after their first couple of films.
I don't have the strength to type up ALL of the nominations since there's no easy copy/paste way from the official site but if you're curious here's the whole list. The Grandmaster and Unbeatable show up practically everywhere and the vampire flick Rigor Mortis, has a lot of nominations, too. Here's a still...
The Shining anyone?