India & China lead nominations for Asian Film Awards in Macau

NEW DELHI: Three Indian films share seven nominations among 42 films nominated in 14 categories for the Asian Film Awards this year. 

Haider has four nominations. In addition to Best Film, Haider is recognised for its director Vishal Bhardwaj, supporting actress Tabu, and production design. 

Margarita, With a Straw is recognised for Kalki Koechlin's performance and its score. 

Court is nominated for director Chaitanya Tamhane’s screenplay.

The awards are returning to Macau on 25 March this year. In sharp contrast to December's Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), there are no nominations shared with the remainder of Asia or the Middle East. The festival defines the Asian Region as "East of the Suez". It still maintains several voting members from Iran, a country that has previously won big at the awards. 

With five nominations, Ann Hui’s biographical drama The Golden Era (China – Hong Kong) has the highest number of nominations for any single film, but it has not been recognised for Best Film. 

Overall, films from China - including Hong Kong co-productions - are the most recognised with 26 nominations out of 74 in all categories. Three local Hong Kong films - That Demon WithinGolden Chickensss and The Midnight After -score an additional three nominations.

Along with Haider, China’s Black Coal, Thin Ice and Blind Massage are the next most recognised films, with four nominations apiece. They will compete for Best Film with Japan's The Light Shines Only There and from South Korea, Hill of Freedom and Ode to My Father. 

Three China co-productions received four nominations apiece: Diao Yi'nan Black Coal, Thin Ice, Lou Ye’s Blind Massage and Jiang Wen's Gone with the Bullets. Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D received three nominations; Zhang Yimou's Coming Home has two nominations, for actresses Gong Li and Zhang Huiwen.

From South Korea, 10 films have received 16 nominations. Two films received three nominations apiece: Hong Sang-soo's Hill of Freedom (including Best Actor for Japan's Kase Ryo) and Kim Seong-hun's A Hard Day. The two films screened in Venice and Cannes last year. 

From Japan, 12 films have received 15 nominations. Only two films received more than one nomination: Oh Mipo’s The Light Shines Only There and Miike Takashi's Over Your Dead Body. In addition to Best Film, Oh's film is nominated for Takada Ryo's screenplay and Ikewaki Chizuru’s supporting actress performance.

The cinema of Southeast Asia is almost completely overlooked in the nominations. Just two films are recognised: Indonesia's The Raid 2 directed by Gareth Evans, and the Philippines' From What is Before directed by Lav Diaz. Diaz has a Best Director nominee for his 338-minute drama.

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