There were some big surprises at the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars for Hong Kong. The surprises started with Ten Years, a film banned in China, winning the Best Film award. Find out more and see the complete list of winners.

Ten Years is a film that touches on the sensitive topic of politics concerning Hong Kong, which holds a self-governing status as a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 after 156 years of British colonial rule. At that time, China promised that Hong Kong residents would continue to enjoy their existing rights and freedom for 50 years. 

The controversial film's five short stories, each directed by a different director, imagine what Hong Kong may be like 10 years from now, as Beijing deepens and strengthens its influence and control over Hong Kong's residents and their everyday lives. The dark predictions depicted in the movie have apparently angered the Chinese government, as China not only pulled the film from cinemas but also banned the broadcast of the Hong Kong Film Awards in the Chinese mainland.

It is with a cry of defiance then that the film with practically a shoestring budget won the Best Film award at the prestigious event. Thousands of Hong Kong residents also showed up at public screenings the weekend before the award ceremony. 

Before he announced the winner, Derek Yee, chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards, said, "President Roosevelt said one thing: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Ten Years's win was not the only surprise at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Top leading man Aaron Kwok won Best Actor for the crime thriller movie Port of Call.

 It is his fifth nomination and first win at the Hong Kong Film Awards despite an acclaimed acting and singing career that has spanned 30 years. The handsome actor dyed his hair and reduced his regular exercise regiment to play the gruff detective tasked with solving a gruesome case.

Port of Call scooped 7 awards in total, including the Best Actress award for newcomer Jessie Li, who was visibly stunned. She played the victim in the movie inspired by a true story.  Co-star Michael Ning won Best Supporting Actor and Best New Performer.

Here is the list of winners:

Best Film: Ten Years

Best Director: Tsui Hark (The Taking Of Tiger Mountain)

Best Screenplay: Philip Yung Tsz Kwong (Port Of Call)

Best Actor: Aaron Kwok (Port Of Call)

Best Actress: Jessie Li (Port Of Call)

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Ning (Port Of Call)

Best Supporting Actress: Elaine Jin (Port Of Call)

Best New Performer: Michael Ning (Port Of Call)

Best Cinematography: 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 and 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)

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 (Monster Hunt)

Best Film From the Mainland and Taiwan: The Assassin

Lifetime Achievement Award: Li Hua Li


Congratulations to all the winners!

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(cover image via  5: The statue representing Hong Kong Film Awards at the Avenue of Stars. Photo: Wikicommons)

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