Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Awards
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Lights, camera, action! The 2016 Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Awards ceremony wrapped up on March 18 with a bigger show in an unlikely and historic location. In years past, the Academy Awards ceremony was historically shown in the Myanmar Event Park on Shin Saw Pu road, though this year organisers opted for a change of scenery.
This year marks the first time the ceremony was held in People’s Park, with the Shwedagon Pagoda as the shining, magnificent backdrop. The stage directly faced the pagoda which radiated gold onto the nominees. Stars could choose to pay their respects before the official announcements. This year’s competition took on a newfound edge so sadly, not all prayers were answered.
Presented by the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization, the annual ceremony is now in its fourth year. The night kicked off with four hosts, including San Htut and Moht Moht Myint Aung, who introduced and awarded a total of ten awards including ones for best film, best director, best actor, best actress and more.
The best screenplay and best supporting actress awards, however, were nixed from the event this year.
An awards show favorite, Ote Kyar Myat Paut took home the most awards for night including best film, best director and best actor.
With over 40 years of experience working in the film industry, director Nyunt Nyi Nyi Aung, was taken aback when he heard the news.
“I’ve been dreaming of this award since I started out in this industry as a mere film editor,” he said. “Now that I’ve got it, I’m really happy and excited.”
The historical adventure flick about the Luu ethnic group, Luu Yadanar Thike, was the second most awarded film of the night, securing both best original score and best cinematography.
The film’s sound mixer, Diramore, is no stranger to the ceremony. A prominent Myanmar musician and professor of music at Yangon’s National University of Arts and Culture, he was first nominated (and won) the award for best original score in 2009 for the film Zaw-Ka Ka Nay Thi.
“I think this award pushes musicians like me to worker harder in the future,” he said.
Hip-hop singer turned actor, Tun Tun, also wowed audiences when he received best actor award for his role in Ote Kyar Myat Paut.
“This is such an amazing night for me,” Tun Tun said, clutching the golden angel trophy on stage. “I feel proud to be the first ever hip-hop singer in Myanmar to win best actor.”
Fantasy adventure film, Mhaw Kyauksar, which was the night’s most nominated film, only secured the award for best sound. Accepting the award on behalf of the team was Kyi Min Thein, who had previously won best sound in 2014 for his work on the film, Mayar Project.
Crime drama, Angel of Eden won the award for best sound editing. The film’s main actor, the rapper, songwriter, and teenage heartthrob, Sai Sai, lost the best actor award to Tun Tun.
President of the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization and actor Lu Min took home the best supporting actor award for the mystery film, Professor Doctor Sate Phwar Hnint Myaing Yar Zar Tar Tay.
“Honestly I really wanted to win an award for this film,” he said, noting that he has worked in the industry for a quarter of a decade and has not taken home an academy award in 12 years.
This is Lu Min’s third win after winning best actor in 2002 for Shwe Mhon Kye’ De’ Moe Kaung Kin and 2005 for Kyansit Min.
“I’m happy that I won for my supporting role; this reminds of when I first started working in the film industry,” he said. Lu Min has been president of the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization since 2014. This year marks his last year as president.
Actress Thet Mon Myint was awarded best actress for the film My Lovely Ahmone. This is her second win as leading lady after taking home her first award for the 2012 hit, Adam, Eve and Datsa.
“I’m really glad to win this award, not only for me but for my fans who have prayed for me,” she said, in addition to thanking her producers and directors for giving her the role.
After announcing the rest of the night’s winners, the ceremony culminated with the presenting of a special award. In years past the special award is given to an up-and-coming child actor.
This year’s special award was presented to the stars of the national hit, Jade World From Manaw Land. The film is the country’s first Kachin-language film to receive both national distribution and Academy Award nomination for best director and best cinematography.