Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, April 22, 2002

'Shaolin Soccer' Scores Winner at HK Film Awards

The presentation ceremony of the 21st Hong Kong Film Award was held Sunday evening in Hong Kong, with "Shaolin Soccer" claiming the laurel of the Best Film.
Stephen Chow, actor and director of the film "Shaolin Soccer," has become the biggest winner of this year's Hong Kong Film Awards.Chow was awarded the Best Actor, the Best Director and the Outstanding Young Director.


'Shaolin Soccer' Scores Winner at HK Film Awards
"Shaolin Soccer", a comedy that will soon hit US cinemas, scored a resounding victory on Sunday at the Hong Kong Film Awards, one of the most prestigious accolades in the Chinese movie circuit.

With its unusual mix of martial arts and soccer, the film grabbed seven of 19 awards, just below the eight that Oscar-winning "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" took last year.

The film stars and was directed by Stephen Chow, dubbed Hong Kong's answer to Hollywood's rubber-faced Jim Carrey, and won awards for best film, director, young director, actor, supporting actor, sound design and visual effects.

It had received 13 nominations.

"I wish to thank some people. First of all, the late (kung fu star) Mr Bruce Lee because I was so enchanted by his films that I resolved to be an actor," the deadpan comedian said.

While "Shaolin Soccer" may not have the international renown that "Crouching Tiger" enjoyed after it took four Oscars last year, it commands a huge following in Asia.

The film earned more than HK$60 million (US$7.7 million) at the local box office last summer, making it Hong Kong's highest-grossing film on record.

Miramax, a unit of Walt Disney Co, bought the US distribution rights for the film even before it was released in Hong Kong. Its US release is expected soon -- marking Chiau's US debut.

Victor for Chow
The night was a personal victory for Chow, whose brand of screen humour has sometimes been seen by critics as parochial.

"Being of a mature age and getting this prize for best young director is especially delightful," he said with a wry smile.

Chow is just two months short of 40, the cut-off age to be considered for the young director award. His 51 movies have grossed more than HK$1.78 billion since 1989.

If there was a prize for the biggest upset of the night, it would have certainly gone to "Lan Yu", a drama tackling the twin taboos of homosexuality and the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

It earned a whopping 11 nominations, including best actor and best film, but ended the night with nothing.

The other surprise was the best actress award, which went to veteran Taiwanese actress and director Sylvia Chang for her role as the mother of an AIDS victim in "Forever and Ever".

Chang cupped her mouth in disbelief when her name was called. Hong Kong pop diva Sammi Cheng had been widely tipped to win after figuring in three of five nominations in the category.

"July Rhapsody", directed by Hong Kong's veteran Ann Hui, took three awards. The film dealt with an affair between a middle-aged teacher and his teenage student -- a taboo in Chinese society.

Period drama "Peony Pavilion" took two prizes. The drama centred on the romantic bond between two women but is perhaps better known for its splendid dresses which were later auctioned off through Sotheby's to raise HK$400,00

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