It might not win an Oscar, but The Overture is most definitely the most-loved film within Thailand.
At the local industry's Subhannahongsa Film Awards, the historical musical drama won seven trophies.
Directed by Ithisoonthorn Vichailuck, The Overture won for best picture, best director, best screenplay, best sound effects, best script and best cinematography. According to the Bangkok Post, it was nominated in all 14 categories.
Covering a period from the early 1900s to the 1940s, the film presented a view of Thai culture that the government seized upon as it was struggling to present a Thai identity to the world in the same year that a Thai film with gay theme, Tropical Malady, won a jury prize at Cannes. The Overture was also a hit with audiences, ranking third at the box office among the locally produced films. It also sparked a revival of traditional Thai classical music.
- Best actor - Pidisak Yaovanaan, in Ai Fak (The Judgement). It was his debut film role and what one hell of job he did.
- Best actress - Ann Thongprasom in The Letter, a tear-jerking remake of a Korean weeper.
- Best supporting actor - Adul Dulyarat, a veteran of Thai stage and screen, for his role as the older Sorn in The Overture.
- Best supporting actress - Singer Apaporn Nakhon Sawan in The Bodyguard. The No 2 Thai box office draw last year, the crime comedy was a star vehicle for Petchtai Wongkumla (aka Mum Jokmok), the comic relief in Ong-Bak.
- Best visual effects - Rightly went to Wisit Sasanatieng's Citizen Dog (Mah Nakorn), easily the most visually stunning film of the year. Period. Credit though went to The Post Bangkok, a post-production house.
Adul Dulyarat said he was glad to win best supporting actor as it was the first acting award he had received in his long career, the Bangkok Post reported in a February 12 Society column recap of the awards. The 73-year-old actor previously won two best director awards for two TV dramas.
The Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand handed out the Lifetime Achievement Award to veteran director Cherd Songsri for his 40-year contribution to the industry. Among his films, considered classics in Thailand are Phlae Kao, Kwan Rak, Tawiphop and Kang Lan Phap. Chalie Intravichit, a veteran composer, read the citation for Cherd. The composer described a scene from the novel that inspired him to write the song Phlae Kao, which became a big hit, and added, "but someone was more capable than me -- he transformed a great novel into an impressive movie."
Cherd thanked colleagues for making his films possible.
Diagnosed with cancer, Cherd has written Kui Kab Kwam Tai, in which he reflects on his battle with the disease. The book has quickly become a best-seller.
Newcomer Pitisak Yaowananon beamed when he won best actor for his role of tragic hero in Ai-Fak.
"I was very surprised and excited to be nominated. It was something beyond my expectations -- like a dream," said the young actor. He added that he would put the golden bird statue under his pillow to make sure he wasn't simply dreaming.
Anne Thongprasom, who starred in the year's best love story, The Letter, picked up best actress award.
"At first I felt like the movie screen was not my place -- I normally appeared on the television screen. But since I have received such positive feedback from movie-goers and the media, the award makes me feel more confident and gives me encouragement to be in cinema."
The actress urged Thai people to support Thai movies. "I want all Thai people to support Thai movies. The Thai movie industry is getting better and there are many good movies out there to watch instead of international films."
- Best Original Score - Pongprom Sanitwong na Ayudhya for the historical serial killer thriller, Zee-Oui.
- Best Original Song - "Mai Mee Chai Mai" by Chatchai Pongprapapan (The Letter).
- Best Art Direction - Saksiri Chantharangi, The Siam Renaissance.
- Best Costume Design - Theerapan Changcharoen, Toskorn Trakulpadejkrai, The Siam Renaissance.
- Best Make Up - Adij Yiamchawee, SARS Wars.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)