Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning “Parasite” leads the race of this year’s Asian Film Awards, which will be hosted in his home country South Korea for the first time since the prize ceremony’s inception in 2007. The acclaimed drama picked up 10 nominations, including best film, best director and best screenplay.
“Parasite” was closely followed by Wang Xiaoshuai’s drama “So Long, My Son” from mainland China, and Taiwan drama “A Sun” by Chung Mong-hong. They each scored seven nominations including best film and best director, organizers of the 14th Asian Film Awards announced on Wednesday. A total of 39 films from 11 countries and regions are competing for the awards.
Founded by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, the AFAs have been staged in Hong Kong and Macau since their launch. In 2013, three major film festivals in Asia — Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo — joined hands to launch the non-profit AFA Academy, with a mission to promote Asian film culture, and to jointly organize the awards.
The awards were switched from their previous March slot to one in October in order to coincide with the Busan festival. That looked like a fortuitous decision, but the coronavirus has caused long-lasting problems for travel around the Asia region, and the AFAs will be held virtually.
They will be hosted from Busan, but the only place they will be accessed live is the AFA Academy’s YouTube channel. The presentations will be made on Oct. 14.
“Despite the limitations due to the global pandemic, we anticipate sharing the joyful moments with all award winners,” Lee Yong-kwan, chairman of the Busan festival, said in a statement.
Joining the race for best film are: “Listen to the Universe,” a screen adaptation of a Japanese novel that tells a youth story, which is competing in the best film and best sound categories; Iranian drama “There is No Evil,” which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale earlier this year, as well as Indian social drama “Thappad.”
Bong’s bid for best director will face challenges from not only Wang and Chung but also Pema Tseden (“Ballon”), Tsai Ming-liang (“Days”) and Suwa Nobuhiro (“Voices in the Wind”).
The highly-praised performance of Tai Bo who plays a closeted, elderly, gay man in Hong Kong drama “Suk Suk,” which has already won him the best actor title at the Hong Kong Film Awards earlier, has scored Tai another award nomination, in the best actor category. Also nominated are Hamed Behdad (“Castle of Dreams”), Chen Yi-wen (“A Sun”), Kubota Masataka (“First Love”), Lee Byung-hun (“The Man Standing Next”) and Wang Jingchun (“So Long, My Son”).
Tai’s co-stars Ben Yuen and Patra Au are also nominated for best supporting actor and actress, respectively.
Yong Mei from “So Long, My Son” is nominated as best actress. She goes up against Zhou Dongyu (“Better Days”), Jung Yu-mi (“Kim Ji Young, Born 1982”), Tsutsui Mariko (“A Girl Missing”), Yeo Yann Yann (“Wet Season”) and Thailand’s Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (“Happy Old Year”). Zhou’s co-stars Zhou Ye and Jackson Yee have been nominated for best supporting actress and best newcomer respectively.
John Hsu, director of the acclaimed Taiwan horror “Detention,” has been nominated for best new director. Chinese sci-fi blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” is nominated in three technical categories, including best production design, visual effects and sound.