Murder mystery stars at Hong Kong Film Awards

Veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's murder mystery "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" was the biggest winner at the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday.

The Tang-dynasty drama featuring famous Chinese detective Di Renjie scooped six awards, including best director, best actress, best art direction, best sound design, best visual effects and best costume and make-up design.

"The whole team has worked really hard and put in a lot of effort to make this a spectacular production," Tsui said after receiving the award. "This award is to be shared with everyone involved."

The movie-maker's latest hit was nominated for the top Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival last year.

Carina Lau, crowned best actress for her role as the powerful Chinese empress Wu Zetian in Tsui's drama, said: "After being nominated so many times and not winning, I didn't think it would really happen to me."

She beat fellow contenders Miriam Yeung, Fiona Sit, Tang Wei, and Josie Ho, daughter of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho.

"Gallants", a rollicking homage to Hong Kong kung fu movies in the 1970s, was the dark horse of the night and the second biggest winner, scooping awards for best film, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best original film score.

Long-time actor-director-singer Teddy Robin bagged the honours for best supporting actor for his role in the comedy.

"Over the past 30 years, I've had a lot of nominations, but not wins. This time round, it's finally my turn," he told reporters.

"This is an affirmation that I am a good actor too," he added.

Veteran actress Susan Shaw snatched the title of best supporting actress.

Best actor went to singer-cum-actor Nicholas Tse for his role in the gritty action-packed cop drama "The Stool Pigeon", beating early favourite and veteran actor Chow Yun-fat as the great Chinese thinker Confucius.

Prolific filmmaker Pang Ho-cheung and Heiward Mak won the award for best screenplay for the light-hearted romantic film "Love In A Puff", a movie about a cosmetics saleswoman who develops a romance with a fellow smoker.

Oscar-winning director of photography Peter Pau bagged the honours for best cinematography for his work in "Confucius", a biopic that follows the life of the legendary Chinese philosopher, tracing his journey around small kingdoms in China preaching his beliefs.

"I was deeply influenced by Chow Yun-fat during this movie," Pau said while receiving the award on stage. "He embodies the very values Confucius teaches and is a very dedicated actor."

Rising star Hanjin Tan was named best new performer for his role in the biopic "Bruce Lee, My Brother", which tells the story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee in his youth, while Felix Chong took home best new director.

Best Asian film went to the Japanese thriller "Confessions".

The award for best film editing went to Cheung Ka-fai, who worked on "Ip Man 2", a sequel to the 2008 film on the life of the legendary kung-fu master starring Donnie Yen.

Hong Kong enjoys a rich film heritage and became an international movie powerhouse in the 1970s.

Together with Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony is one of the Chinese film industry's most prestigious events, as the southern Chinese city remains a rich source of film talent.

Its stars still enjoy huge popularity across Asia. There have been increasing collaborations between Hong Kong and mainland filmmakers in recent years targeting the large market of movie-goers in China.

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