“Anita,” the biopic of the late canto-pop queen Anita Mui, led the race at the 40th Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night with five awards, including recognitions for the film’s actors and technical achievements. But the Best Picture and Best Director awards went to action thriller “Raging Fire” directed by the late Benny Chan.
Sunday’s event, which was postponed from its original schedule in April, was the first in-person edition of the awards ceremony after a two-year COVID hiatus – the 2020 edition was held online and 2021 has been suspended.
The number of films released in Hong Kong has dropped dramatically in recent years as cinemas have been forced to close for extended periods under the government’s COVID measures. Accordingly, this year’s event was a double edition with films released in 2020 and 2021.
As the first Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony was held in the post-National Security Law era and the industry’s struggle during the pandemic, heartwarming and thoughtful messages abounded, offering encouragement and wishing perseverance to practitioners and creatives in the industry. “Even if we cry, we must cry with a smile,” said veteran comedian Michael Hui, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Another common thread running through the awards ceremony was to salute Hong Kong’s importance as a hub that continues to welcome talent from different parts of the world. Malaysian actress Fish Liew has thanked Hong Kong for making her dreams come true by winning the Best Supporting Actress award with her role in “Anita.” Louise Wong, who plays the film’s title role, received the award for Best New Performer. The film also won Best Costume and Makeup Design, beating the late Wada Emi for her work in Ann Hui’s “Love After Love.” Renowned Japanese musician Sakamoto Ryuichi received Best Original Film Score for “Love After Love.”
Mainland actress Cya Liu has been named best actress for her role as a young drug addict in the Cantonese noir film “Limbo”, just months after winning the same title at the annual Hong Kong Film Critics’ Society Awards. The film also won Best Screenplay Written by Au Kin Yee and Shum Kwan Sin, as well as Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.
Veteran actor Patrick Tse, 85, won the best actor award as expected with his acclaimed role as a retired hitman in the dark comedy ‘Time’. Tse, who previously received a lifetime achievement award in 2019, received a standing ovation as he accepted the award on stage, accompanied by Lam Ka-tung, who had two chances in the category for best actor with roles in “Hand Rolled Cigarette” and “Limbes”.
Actor-producer Andy Lau presented the best director award to the late Benny Chan for “Raging Fire.” He read a thank you note from Chan’s wife, saying the award completed Chan’s life. “He [Chan] would respond to your applause with a smile from afar,” Lau said. “Raging Fire” also won Best Action Choreography and Best Film Editing.
Before the actual start of the evening, the organizers organized a short award ceremony for the winners of the 39th edition, which took place exclusively online. After winning Best Director for the drama “Better Days,” Derek Tsang responded to criticism against the film over whether it was a Hong Kong or mainland Chinese production. “People wonder if this is a Hong Kong movie. I learned everything from Hong Kong cinema, and the spirit of Hong Kong movies lives in what I do,” he said. he declared on stage.
Full list of winners of the 40th Hong Kong Film Awards:
Best film – “Raging Fire” (presented by Emperor Film Production Company Limited, Tencent Pictures Culture Media Company Limited, Sil-Metropole Organization Limited. Produced by Benny Chan, Donnie Yen)
Best actor — Patrick Tse (“Time”)
Best Director – Benny Chan (“Raging Fire”)
Best Actress — Cya Liu (“Limbo”)
Best Chinese-Language Asian Film – “American Girl”
Best Screenplay — At Kin Yee, Shum Kwan Sin (“The limbo”)
Best Action Choreography — Donnie Yen, Ku Huen Chiu, Tanigaki Kenji, Li Chung Chi (“Raging Fire”)
Best Supporting Actor — Fung Ho Yeung (“Zero to Hero”)
Best sound design — Tu Duu-Chih, Wu Shu-Yao (“Anita”)
Best Visual Effects — Yee Kwok Leung, Garrett K Lam, Raymond Leung Wai Man, Hung Man Shi Candy (“Anita”)
Best Film Editing — Curran Pang (“Raging Fire”)
Best Costume and Makeup Design —Dora Ng, Karen Yip (“Anita”)
Best Art Direction — Kenneth Mak, Renee Wong (“The Limbo”)
Best Original Film Score — Ryuichi Sakamoto (“Love After Love”)
Best Original Movie Song – Origin of Time (“One-Second Champion”)
Best Supporting Actress —Fish Liew (“Anita”)
Best Cinematography — Cheng Siu Keung (“The Limbo”)
Best New Director — Kin Long Chan (“Hand Rolled Cigarette”)
Best New Performer —Louise Wong (“Anita”)
Life Achievement Award —Michael Hui Koon-man
Professional Excellence Award — Tony Chow Kwok-chung.