‘This award belongs to you all’: controversial hit Ten Years claims top prize at Hong Kong Film Awards
Originally published at the South China Morning Post on April 3, 2016.
By Jessie Lau and Sidney Leng
Crime thriller Port of Call dominated the Hong Kong Film Awards, scooping seven awards – but top honours went to controversial Ten Years.
The dystopian film painting a grim picture of life in Hong Kong in 2025 scored its lone victory in the biggest category of last night’s celebration of the local movie industry.
Ten Years’ executive producer Andrew Choi said: “Thanks to the Film Awards for daring to give us this award.”
“Ten Years has already gone beyond being just a film,” said Choi. “There are so many possibilities in Hong Kong films”.
He added: “This award shows that Hong Kong actually has hope. This award tells us that we need to keep working hard. Thanks to all the Hong Kong viewers. This award belongs to you all.”
Choi responded calmly when asked about the mainland’s ban on Ten Years.
“Our film is for Hongkongers,” he said. “There are places where the film is welcome and places where it’s not.”
Mainland media made no mention of the film’s victory in its coverage of the annual awards.
Port of Call’s writer and director Philip Yung Tsz-kwong picked up best screenplay for the story based on a 2008 murder case of a local 16-year-old female prostitute.
Clutching one of his two trophies of the night, Yung said: “It’s not that my script was good, but you guys acted well.”
Aaron Kwok Fu-shing led a host of acting trophies for the true crime thriller, winning best actor, his first Hong Kong Film Awards win after five nominations.
Accepting his award, Kwok said he never thought he’d win. “I didn’t even really prepare before going on stage,” said the 50-year-old Hong Kong native. “To get this today is a huge source of encouragement.”
Unheralded Jessie Li, 23, joined in Port of Call’s march to victory earning best actress for her turn as the troubled protagonist.
Michael Ning won both best supporting actor and best new performer for his performance in Port of Call, which was named best picture by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society last year.
After giving thanks to the judges and his colleagues as he picked up the best supporting actor award, Ning addressed his father. “I love you,” he said. “Thank you for your love, which is not too much or too little.”
World-renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle last night won at the Hong Kong Film Awards for the seventh time, for his work on Port of Call .
Tsui Hark took best director for historical drama The Taking of Tiger Mountain. It was Tsui’s third time taking the honour.
For the first time, the awards show was not broadcast live for mainland audiences following news that the controversial hit Ten Years had been nominated.
The film grabbed headlines after Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times slammed it for being “absurd” and “pessimistic.”
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s martial arts epic The Assassin won best film from the mainland and Taiwan.
Taiwan-born Elaine Jin Yan-ling , 61, won best supporting actress for her performance in Port Of Call. Jin won the same awards in Love Unto Wastes (1986) and People’s Hero (1987).
A tearful Jin said she was grateful to her colleagues for giving her opportunities in the city.
Jin referred to Hong Kong as the first place where she could find a job. “I didn’t act in too many films after I returned here but I was really lucky,” she said.
Full list of winners from the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards
Tsui Hark (The Taking Of Tiger Mountain)
Philip Yung Tsz-kwong (Port Of Call)
Aaron Kwok (Port Of Call)
Jessie Li (Port Of Call)
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Ning (Port Of Call)
Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Jin Yan-ling (Port Of Call)
Best New Performer
Michael Ning (Port Of Call)
Christopher Doyle (Port Of Call)
Best Film Editing
Cheung Ka Fai (Ip Man 3)
Best Art Direction
William Chang Suk Ping, Yau Wai-ming (Office)
Best Costume & Make Up Design
Yee Chung-man (Monster Hunt)
Best Action Choreography
Li Chung-chi (SPL 2 : A Time For Consequences)
Best Original Film Score
Dayu Lo, Chan Fai-young (Office)
Best Original Film Song
We Almost Fly (She Remembers, He Forgets)
Composed by Day Tai
Lyric by Saville Chan
Sung by Feanna Wong
Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-keung, Yiu Chun-hin (The Taking Of Tiger Mountain)
Best Visual Effects
Jason Snell, Ellen Poon, Tang Bingbing (Monster Hunt)
Best New Director
Raman Hui Shing-ngai (Monster Hunt)
Best Film From Mainland And Taiwan
Raman Hui Shing-ngai secured the honour of best new director for Monster Hunt, a 3D fantasy action comedy adventure. The Hong Kong-born animator was previously known for his contributions to the Shrek series.
Veteran 92-year-old actress Li Lihua, whose movie career launched in 1940 at the age of 16, received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.