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Thu, Dec 19, 2013
The Straits Times
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Yeo Yann Yann, Zhang Ziyi win again

MACAU - Yeo Yann Yann won Best Supporting Actress for Ilo Ilo, Lee Kang-sheng Best Actor for Stray Dogs and Zhang Ziyi Best Actress for The Grandmaster.

For a while at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival on Sunday, the ceremony seemed to be a replay of the Golden Horse Awards last month.

But in the end, it was Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's switched-at-birth drama Like Father, Like Son - and not Singaporean Anthony Chen's household drama Ilo Ilo - which took the top prize for Best Picture.

The Japanese film also won Best Director for Koreeda, another feather in its cap after it was awarded a Jury Prize in Cannes by judges including Steven Spielberg and acquired by Spielberg's Dreamworks SKG for an English-language remake.

The Malaysia-born, Singapore-based Yeo was ecstatic to have scored one more win - and to have beaten Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, who was nominated for her role in the Korean sci-fi drama Snowpiercer. She told Lianhe Zaobao: "Tilda Swinton is an actor I worship. I find it hard to believe that I beat her. After I took the prize and went backstage, my whole body was trembling. It's a feeling I've never had in my life."

Chen, who rewrote Yeo's role as a working mother jealous of her maid's relationship with her son to accommodate the actress' pregnancy at the time of filming, said: "She's really a force to be reckoned with. She's beaten a Hollywood star. She's the glory of Singapore and Malaysia."

Filipina Angeli Bayani, who had a Best Actress nomination for playing the maid in Ilo Ilo, lost to Zhang but told Zaobao she was honoured to have competed in the category.

Accepting her prize for The Grandmaster, Zhang said she had filmed for three years in her role as a proud and ultimately tragic pugilist. "But when I finished this movie, I learnt four words, xin gan qing yuan," she said. The expression means "perfectly willing and happy".

And in an apparent allusion to her romance with rocker Wang Feng, she added: "Winter is good. It's the harvest season. I've gained not only happiness, but also trophies."

The Wong Kar Wai action saga also won Best Cinematography.

For playing a disenfranchised father in the Tsai Ming-liang family drama Stray Dogs, Lee beat Tony Leung Chiu Wai (The Grandmaster) and Nick Cheung (Unbeatable) for Best Actor at the second ceremony in two months and said he had scored another "upset".

Zaobao said Indian director-writer Ritesh Batra's food-centric romance The Lunchbox took two prizes, Best Supporting Actor for Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Best Screenplay.

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