Posts Tagged ‘film awards’
My sincerest congratulations to Ann Hui and the cast of her latest film, A Simple Life 桃姐, for their wins at the 48th Golden Horse Awards on Saturday. The film netted Hui the Best Director award, while her leads, Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau and veteran actress Deanie Ip, were named Best Leading Actor and Actress respectively, representing a near-sweep of the top prizes between them.
For her role in A Simple Life, Ip also won the Volpi Cup for best actress at the Venice Film Festival this year; the Hong Kong media had a field day hooting about the territory’s “first movie queen crowned at Venice” – “香港第一威尼斯影后.”
There’s a very special place in my heart for Hui’s work – she’s right there behind Antonioni, Ozu and Bong Joon-ho.
I can’t wait for the film to arrive in Singapore.
While A Simple Life lost out in the Best Film category to the 4-hour long Taiwanese epic, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, two of Hui’s films have previously had the honour: Summer Snow 女人四十 in 1995, and Ordinary Heroes 千言萬語 in 1999. The latter, in fact, reaped an even bigger haul back then – it took five Golden Horse awards, including those for best film, director and actress.
Here’s my favourite Ann Hui moment though: The Way We Are 天水围的日与夜, from 2008, which I consider her crowning achievement. It’s a quiet little film, where nothing much happens. A young boy waits for his final-year grades; his mother works in a supermarket; she befriends a co-worker, an elderly woman who lives alone; they interact; some family drama unfolds; the kid does ok in his exams; son, mother and friend sit down to a home-cooked meal. That’s it. The lack of plot development or narratorial excitement is the film’s greatest strength – in the manner of an Ozu film, it simply ambles from one small scene to another, the emotional punch delivered as cumulative affect. As a review on HK Cinemagic sums it up: “The way we are, the way we live; an ode to the salt of the earth.”
Click on the link below to watch it in full. (Cantonese dialogue and Chinese subs only though, sorry.)
The principal players in The King’s Speech. From left to right: producer Emile Sherman, producer Iain Canning, stars Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, director Tom Hooper, and producer Gareth Unwin.
That brief, blink-and-you’ve-missed-it acknowledgment came at the end of Iain Canning’s acceptance speech at the 83rd Academy Awards, just a few short hours ago.
Canning, who co-produced this year’s big winner, The King’s Speech, went on stage at the end of the evening to accept the film’s Best Picture Oscar, along with his colleagues Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin. (The NYT recently profiled them, here.) TKS won four Academy Awards out of twelve nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay.
That, by the way, is an impressive four out of the so-called ‘Big Five‘ (Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor and Actress).
At the conclusion of a short speech thanking his parents and the cast and crew of the film – including a sulky-looking Bonham Carter, who got pipped by the far more deserving Natalie Portman, hah! – Canning added: “And to my boyfriend Ben, you help me every day do what I do. Thank you.”
It may not have sounded like much, but it was nonetheless a heartfelt, public recognition. Of course, the big moment for gay rights at the Academy Awards was Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech two years ago, when he won for his screenplay for Milk, which also famously netted Sean Penn his second Oscar. The bitter Prop 8 war was raging thick and furious just then, and Black – who was raised in a Mormon household – paid moving tribute to his mother, to Harvey Milk, and to his gay brethren everywhere, especially those who wished to legally and admissibly wed their spouses:
When I was thirteen years old my beautiful mother moved me and my family from a conservative Mormon home in Texas to California and it was there that I heard the story of Harvey Milk and it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life openly as who I am, and that one day I could even fall in love and maybe even get married.
I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to.
But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.
Thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk.
Canning’s own gesture of gratitude may not have had the high-profile impact of Black’s moment in the spotlight, but in its own understated way it honours not just er, Ben, but gay men and women all over the world who lead quiet, ordinary lives far removed from the conspicuous glitz of Hollywood, from its relentless visibility and fashionable political statements – and many, as I do, in countries where a gay rights movement is unheard of, and homosexuality itself remains punishable by law. Black no doubt struck a blow for his fellow gay Americans when he got up on that podium to namecheck God and Harvey Milk and “this great nation”, but Canning’s modest little acknowledgment spoke to those of us for whom public expression or admittance of our sexuality is still a fraught, all too rare luxury.