Lee Chang-dong’s smoldering drama “Burning” picked up the largest number of nominations for the 2019 edition of the Asian Film Awards. The Korean adaptation of a Japanese short story was nominated in eight categories, including best film.
Other best film nominees were Pema Tseden’s “Jinpa,” Wen Muye’s “Dying to Survive,” Rajkumar Hirani’s “Sanju,” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”
“Shoplifters,” “Sanju,” and Zhang Yimou’s “Shadow” ranked narrowly behind “Burning” with six nominations each. Hong Kong crime thriller “Project Gutenberg” earned five nominations, while “Jinpa” and “Dying to Survive” both received four nominations.
While “Burning” and “Shoplifters” are both among the front-runners, as they have been at festivals and award events through the year, the AFA nominations rank them differently.
“Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, where both films premiered. It also won the top film prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in November.
Another curiosity is the fate of “Shadow.” At the Golden Horse awards in Taiwan, the highly stylized drama picked up the most nominations and went home the numerical winner with four prizes, including one for Zhang as best director. The AFAs omit it from all performance categories, but put it in six technical awards races. It will compete against “Operation Red Sea,” the biggest Asian film of last year at the box office, which similarly, only received nominations in technical categories.
In terms of nationality mainland China was the nominations leader. Chinese-majority films collected 22 nominations, ahead of 14 each for Japanese and Korean movies. Indian titles received 11 nominations ahead of 10 for Hong Kong-majority productions.