Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has been nominated for best actor in inaugural pan-Asian Film Awards for his title role in Don .
Hong Kong’s film festival hopes to boost its profile with an inaugural pan-Asian awards ceremony today that features nominees from Bollywood, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Iran.
Up for the top acting awards are SRK (“Don”), Gong Li (“Curse of the Golden Flower”) and fellow Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (“The Banquet”), Japan’s Ken Watanabe (“Memories of Tomorrow”), veteran Hong Kong actor Andy Lau (“A Battle of Wits”) and Taiwan’s Chang Chen (“The Go Master”).
South Korean pop star Rain was nominated for “I Am a Cyborg, But That’s OK,” about the relationship between two mentally ill patients.
The problem is that many of the big stars are skipping the event, including SRK.
Despite being a major movie production hub, Hong Kong’s film festival has paled in comparison to the better funded Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea, which hosts more world premieres.
Hong Kong organisers hope a star-studded awards event that draws big names from across the region will redirect the world’s focus to this bustling financial capital that has seen its once-powerhouse movie industry decline in productivity.
The 1st Asian Film Awards encompasses an unusually diverse mix of nominees that includes some of the biggest names in Asian cinema.
Among the movies competing for best film are famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s ancient Chinese epic “Curse of the Golden Flower,” the South Korean monster thriller “The Host,” and “Still Life,” directed by Zhang’s compatriot Jia Zhangke.
Jia won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival last year for “Still Life,” set against the imminent demolition of a small town to make way for the Three Gorges Dam project.
The other nominees for best film are Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s gangster movie “Exiled,” Japan’s “Love and Honour,” the story of a blind samurai, and the Austrian-Indonesian co-production “Opera Jawa,” which incorporates Javanese art and dance.
Chinese director Jia and Hong Konger To are vying for best director against Iran’s Jafar Panahi (“Offside”), Malaysian-Chinese director Tsai Ming-liang, South Korean Hong Sang-soo (“Woman on the Beach”) and Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Syndromes and a Century”).
Despite a topflight shortlist, the Hong Kong organisers haven’t been able to draw the star power they were aiming for.
The Hong Kong film festival’s director, Peter Tsi, said earlier that he expected most nominees to attend, but some of the most famous nominees have decided to skip the event.
No-shows in the final guest list include Zhang, Gong, Lau, Khan and Watanabe.
Rain and directors To and Jia will attend as will French director Luc Besson.
Veteran movie star Josephine Siao, Hong Kong’s most prolific actor in history, and film scholar David Bordwell will receive lifetime achievement honours.