Project Gutenberg Dominates With 17 Nominations

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The Hollywood Reporter by Karen Chu

The Hong Kong Film Awards announced the nomination list today. Project Gutenberg, the critically acclaimed crime thriller directed by Infernal Affairs scribe Felix Chong, became the second-most-nominated film in the history of the Hong Kong Film Awards with an impressive 17 nominations on Tuesday.

Project Gutenberg achieved a grand slam in the acting categories with five mentions as its stars Zhang Jingchu, Liu Kai Chi and Catherine Chau earned noms in the best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress races, respectively, and the thriller’s leads Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok were pitted against each other in the best actor category.

Helmer and writer Chong, who spent over a decade crafting this throwback to 1980s and 1990s Hong Kong action cinema, has been nominated for best director and best screenplay. The drama, which centers on a band of master counterfeiters’ efforts to forge the 1996 U.S. Dollar banknotes, is also in the running for best film, cinematography, film editing, art direction, costume and makeup design, action choreography, original film score, original film song, sound design, sound effects and visual effects. The Hong Kong Film Awards have 19 categories overall.

Project Gutenberg was an event movie when it bowed in October, grossing $4.4 million during a rather difficult year for the Hong Kong film industry that saw only 53 homegrown films released locally and the majority didn’t even break the million-dollar threshold. Chow’s own homage in the film to his days headlining John Woo classics was a particular draw, which found him showing off his signature moves for an audience ripe for nostalgia. Kwok, whose character was actually the heart of the story, likewise got praise for his layered performance. The globe-trotting actioner also became a box office sensation in China through word-of-mouth and raked in 1.27 billion yuan ($187 million).

The 38th Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony is set to take place April 14 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.