Let me just start off by saying that I don’t have too much to say on the award results themselves, since I haven’t watched many TVB series this year and -- as has been the case the past few years -- I also haven’t watched a single TVB series in its entirety (meaning every single minute of every single episode). With that said, any opinion that I give below regarding the results are based mostly on the episodes/partial episodes that I caught here and there during the times when I happened to be in the same room when a family member was watching the series. Also, since the TVB awards have grown increasingly meaningless as each year goes by, I’ve become more and more indifferent towards who the winners end up being in most of the categories except for a handful that can pretty much be counted on one hand (i.e. TV King, Best Supporting Actor, Professional Actors Award, Lifetime Achievement Award). Therefore, don’t expect me to comment on each category or to writeup a detailed recap like I’ve done in the past, as I feel it is a huge waste of time.
As with past years, I’m more interested in who the presenters for each of the awards ends up being rather than who actually got nominated and/or wins in each category. Over the years, I’ve found that the choice of presenters as well as the ‘speeches’ they give prior to presenting are often the biggest highlights of the Anniversary award show, sometimes even overshadowing the speeches from the winners themselves.
Ok, so diving right in….
Lifetime Achievement Award: Chow Chung
This was actually the one award I was most concerned about this year, especially after stupid TVB chose undeserving Nat Chan as the recipient of this award last year (believe me, it was one of those WTF moments of the ceremony that I was pissed off about for months). This year, they chose to give the award to 81 year old veteran actor Chow Chung, which was a great choice (ok, TVB, you redeemed yourself in this category this year – better not screw it up again next year!!!). Though Chow Chung may not be the best of actors (to be honest, I’ve never been particularly fond of his acting), there is no doubt about his contributions to the television (and movie) industry throughout his extremely long acting career.
In terms of presenters for this award, TVB did the right thing by having veterans Kenneth Tsang and Wu Fung do the honors. Both artists are good friends with Chow Chung and have known each other for many years, plus all 3 were Shaw Brothers actors back in the day and collaborated often during those times, so of course, having them present was appropriate and relevant. This is one category where I’m happy with the result!
Professional Actors Award: Jerry Koo Ming Wah, Carlo Ng, Chun Wong
Ever since TVB added this category a few years ago, it’s been one of the few award categories that I pay attention to every year and largely agree with the results. This year was no exception, though I do feel that only 3 artists receiving the award this year is not enough (I wonder why so few? The past few years it has always been at least 5 artists receiving this award). The way I see it, this category was created to recognize those veterans who have contributed greatly to the industry (most of them through stellar acting) but do not have much chance to receive any of the other ‘main’ awards. I guess we could say that this is TVB’s way of still promoting the people they want to promote (to get the ‘main’ awards) but still throw an olive branch to audiences by still recognizing the veterans who actually deserve those ‘main’ awards way more but will never get the chance to be in the running. Though I may not necessarily agree with the motive for creating this award, my take is that SOME recognition of veteran actors is better nothing, right?
I don’t have much comment on the recipients of this award other than I was surprised that Jerry Koo was on the list, since it’s not like he hasn’t won any major award with TVB before, plus he has been largely MIA from the small screen the past year or so (I had read that he was actually ill for a long period of time, to the point of having to be hospitalized, so that’s why he hadn’t filmed much for TVB this past year). Of course, I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve the award because he does, but given that so few artists got the award this year, I was surprised that they gave it to him over others who were equally deserving. I was definitely ecstatic to see Carlo Ng and Chun Wong receive this award, as it has been long overdue for both of them. Both are great actors (and in the case of Carlo, he is a great host too) who’ve never gotten recognition from TVB despite their contributions. In my opinion, Carlo gave the most moving speech of the night with the mention of his wife saying it was a good thing he hasn’t been tremendously popular over the years because that has allowed him to spend a lot of time with his family (indeed, Carlo actually has a reputation for being a family man as well as a good husband and father). The fact that Carlo prioritizes his family over his work and would rather sacrifice the chance to become popular if it means he can spend quality time with his wife and kids definitely makes him a good man in my book! Congrats to all the winners in this category!
Best Supporting Actor: Raymond Cho
For me, this has always been a tough category to choose a winner, as most of the candidates are usually very strong. This year, TVB decided to go with Top 3 finalists (as opposed to top 2 like they’ve done in the past). While I agree with Raymond Cho and Hugo Ng making it into final 3, I had no clue what TVB was thinking by putting FAMA’s Luk Wing in the 3rd spot (my immediate reaction when I heard them announce final 3 was – WTH, Luk Wing made it into the last spot? What happened to the other more deserving nominees such as John Chiang, Power Chan, Carlo Ng, Jimmy Au, etc.?) Though in the grand scheme of things, it probably didn’t matter much since the ‘race’ was pretty much between Raymond and Hugo anyway (both were hot favorites for this category), but still – would’ve preferred for the ‘race’ to be tighter like in past years.
In terms of result, I would’ve been happy with either Raymond or Hugo winning, as I like both actors and both were equally deserving of the award (though I kind of felt that Hugo had a slight edge in that he was pretty much the sole highlight of Brother’s Keeper II and made that series even remotely watchable, so in a way, he single-handedly saved that entire series – no small feat given how horrible that series was overall). But Raymond definitely did stand out this year as opposed to previous years (though he has actually given enough outstanding performances in the past to make him long overdue for this award). I was happy to see Raymond finally get this award and also enjoyed watching him give his acceptance speech with the signature humor that has always made him endearing to friends and fans (I chuckled when he made sure to thank his father-in-law John Chiang not once but twice, LOL). Congrats to Raymond but at the same time, kudos to Hugo for putting in such a strong performance! I’m actually glad he’s back and look forward to seeing more from him in the future!
Most Improved Male Actor: Jonathan Cheung
I usually don’t care much about this category and to be honest, this year I didn’t really care a whole lot either. But since Jonathan Cheung was nominated this time around and he’s an artist I started noticing a few years back as an actor with huge potential, I naturally was interested in this category this year. After Jonathan’s win at the Astro Awards in Malaysia, no doubt that he was a shoo-in to win again at the Anniversary awards too, but I was curious to see whether TVB would pull an upset or not. Luckily TVB came through as they were supposed to and chose Jonathan as the winner – definitely a wise choice given the rest of the nominees who made it into top 5 were extremely weak (to the point that I’m sure TVB would’ve gotten major backlash if they chose any of the others to win in this category). Jonathan gave a great acceptance speech (though not as touching as the speech he gave in Malaysia, which had most everyone in tears) – glad he got the chance to thank people that he had forgotten to thank in Malaysia (such as Andy Lau for instance). Congrats to Jonathan for a well-deserving win!
TV King (aka Best Actor): Ruco Chan
Ok, I will admit that Ruco’s win in this category was unexpected in my book. Nothing against Ruco, as he is definitely a solid actor – in fact, he’s one of the few ‘current generation’ actors I actually like due to him having true acting talent. Ruco’s performance this year was solid as usual, but acting-wise, was not as challenging as past roles he’s had, especially when compared to Roger Kwok, who was outstanding in Dead Wrong. If it was based on acting, I would’ve definitely chosen Roger over Ruco (and yes there is a little bias at play here due to me being a Roger fan). I don’t think it would be a far stretch to say that Ruco had an advantage due to the popularity of his character and the series itself, plus the fact that Roger’s series aired so late in the game (the final episode of Dead Wrong aired just 1 day prior to the awards). Those of us who have been following TVB’s awards for a long time know that when it comes to TV King and Queen, it’s not necessarily about whose acting is truly the best – popularity of a series, ratings, hype, etc. can impact the results and it’s obvious that’s what happened with this category (and with the entire awards ceremony in general, since Ruco’s series A Fist Within Four Walls pretty much swept the awards with 6 wins). With all that said though, I guess it shouldn’t matter to me, since my first choice for this category (Liu Kai Chi, an actor I adore who did great in his series Law Disorder) didn’t even make it into top 5 (can’t even remember if he was nominated or not, since there was like zero hype for his series). So I guess you could say at the end of the day, I’m indifferent to Ruco’s win – I’m neither for nor against it, just surprised given TVB’s pattern of rewarding veterans the past few years.
That’s it for me in terms of award results (LOL…obviously I didn’t care about the other categories so didn’t even bother mentioning them). I do want to say a few things about the presenters this year as well as the awards ceremony itself.
I will admit that the choice of presenters for some of the categories was very surprising (in some cases, pleasantly so). I was happy to see some familiar faces back again and appreciate that TVB put in the effort to do a “partner” theme this year with the presenters. Of course, the presenters were relatively lackluster in that they were all mostly current/former TVB people (or non-TVB people currently filming series for TVB) and no big names like they’ve had in the past (though this has actually been the case for like what 4-5 years already?). The “highlights” of the night in terms of presenters (in my opnion) were definitely: the Virtues of Harmony cast (Nancy Sit, Louis Yuen, Joyce Chen, Johnny Tang), the Come Home Love cast (led by Lau Dan), Frankie Lam and Jessica Husan, Andrew Lam and Johnson Lee (mostly for Andrew’s irreverent humor, which always manages to crack me up, lol), and of course, the biggest surprise of the night, Sheren Tang returning to present the Best Series award alongside Wayne Lai. No doubt that the 64 million dollar question that has been abuzz since the awards wrapped is whether Sheren will return to film another series for TVB or not -- my gut instinct is “no” given Sheren has such strict requirements nowadays for filming series and TVB obviously is not high on her list of priorities…however, if Wayne is persuasive enough and TVB is willing to meet her requirements (and if they bring back producers/scriptwriters that Sheren is willing to work with), it still might be a possibility in the near future (though my personal preference is for Sheren not to return if TVB is just going to give her crap series, plus the way they treated her, I wouldn’t even give them the time of day if I were her).
Rundown wise, I honestly didn’t really like the format this year. The whole Dodo + FAMA gimmick has been used/re-used way too much this year and it’s getting old. They should’ve gone with either having Dodo host the show by herself as she’s done in the past or perhaps just pair her up with Sammy Leung (who is a good host actually) if they truly wanted to switch things up this year. The way they did it with Sammy officially hosting and the others kind of doing a ‘side-hosting’ thing was a bit unprofessional in my opinion (plus kind of annoying). Other than that, the show was similar to previous years in that it was largely disorganized and lackluster.