‘The Assassin’ tops winners at Asian Film Awards


Macau (AP) – Hou Hsiao-hsien’s painterly martial arts masterpiece “The Assassin” claimed eight wins at the Asian Film Awards, including best film and best director.

The cinematic historical drama was also honored for cinematography and its lead and supporting actresses at the ceremony last week in Macau.

Best-actress winner Shu Qi jokingly thanked the “Band-Aids and medicine” that accompanied her during filming, referring to the rigorous training to prepare for the role.

Taiwanese actress Shu Qi (right) and South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun pose after winning the Best Actress and Actor awards at the Asian Film Awards in Macau, Thursday, March 17. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Taiwanese director Hou did not attend but the film’s cinematographer Mark Lee collected the awards on the director’s behalf.  He thanked the jury, the cast and crew and Hou’s supporters in the region.

“The Assassin,” a gorgeously filmed story of a female killer faced with an impossible choice between love and duty, was named best film at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards and the veteran Hou won best director at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Chinese actress Zhou Yun of “The Assassin” was named best-supporting actress, while the best-supporting actor honor went to Japan’s Tadanobu Asano for “Journey to the Shore.”

Lee Byung hun won best actor for his role in the political thriller “Inside Men.”  Accepting the award, Lee thanked the director and his co-star, but saved the most important people until last: “I would like to thank my wife and son at home for all the love and support through good times and bad,” the South Korean actor said.

In addition to his work in Asia, Lee has enjoyed success in Hollywood, having appeared in “G.I Joe: Retaliation” and “Terminator Genisys.”

Lee was invited to last month’s Oscars as the only Asian presenter.

After criticism over the lack of ethnic diversity among the nominees, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences added three new governors to its 51-member board and appointed six minority members to other leadership positions.  The academy also apologized to Asians for a racially insensitive skit during the ceremony.

Lee said he wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding host Chris Rock’s joke, but he said Hollywood needs to generally broaden its definition of diversity.