Nov 24, 2011

APSA winners announced, one more award for A Separation

I’d talked about the Asia Pacific Screen Awards previously when the nominations were announced. It’s one my favourite awards of the season because it’s the main international stage where Iranian films are consistently featured.

Leila Hatami and Peiman Moaadi in A Separation
The prizes were handed out today and lo and behold, an Iranian film claimed the top prize for the first time in the five year history of the awards. It’s yet another honour for Asghar Farhadi’s brilliant film A Separation. The result was predicted by almost everybody except yours truly. I thought the jury wouldn’t ignore A Separation’s screenplay and lead actor and also wouldn’t be willing to reward a single film with three prizes, hence why I predicted Once Upon a Time in Anatolia would prevail. I was wrong on all accounts.

The jury was in fact totally okay with handing three prizes to one film, that being the aforementioned Turkish film which took the Grand Jury Prize, Best Director for Nuri Bilge Ceylan (it’s his second win after 2008’s Three Monkeys) and an incredibly well deserved Best Cinematography award for Gokhan Tiryaki (I've already written about how much I love his work here.)

A Separation’s prize in the top category is the film’s lone award of the night. What I think is most surprising is that A Separation missed the Best Screenplay award since I think everybody would agree that that’s the film’s strongest suit. Maybe the jury didn’t want to over-reward Farhadi after what happened in Berlin? Or maybe the acclaimed Russian winner Silent Souls, which I haven’t seen yet, is actually a more deserving winner. (Iran’s second prize of the night was the High Commendation Best Children’s Feature Film given to Wind and Fog. I hadn’t heard of this film before the nominations were announced but it looks really intriguing.)

Aside from the cinematography prize, another category I did predict correctly was Best Actress which went to the second Russian winner of the night Nadezhda Markina for her role in Elena. I missed the film at TIFF but everyone who's seen it is doing cartwheels for her so it’s surely something to look forward to.

On a final note, Iran and Turkey have submitted A Separation and Anatolia for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, as you probably know. Both films are stellar feats and the academy would be wise to nominate them, though I think A Separation stands a much better chance.

Anyway, take a look at the full list of winners after the jump:

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Best Feature Film
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

Best Achievement in Directing
Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)

Best Screenplay
Denis Osokin (Silent Souls)

Best Cinematography
Gokhan Tiryaki (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)

Best Performance by an Actor
Wang Baoqiang (Mr. Tree)

Best Performance by an Actress
Nadezhda Markina (Elena)

Best Documentary Feature Film
I Was Worth 50 Sheep

Best Children’s Feature Film

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