Australian Academy Announces Best Asian Film Nominees and Grand Jury Members for 2018

October 4, 2018

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has today revealed the films nominated for this year’s AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG).

Australian Academy Announces Best Asian Film Nominees and Grand Jury Members for 2018

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has today revealed the films nominated for this year’s AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG).

In the last 12 months, Asian films have contributed $36 million AUD to the Australian box office, signalling the immense popularity of Asian cinema in Australia as the region’s film industries continue to boom and produce high-quality, internationally lauded titles. The AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by EIG recognises the exceptional calibre of films from the Asian region as well as their growing popularity, not just with audiences domestically within Australasia but also globally.

This year’s Best Asian Film nominees form a unique snapshot of the finest Asian films from the past year, from box-office hits and international film festival favourites to a Palme d’Or winner and multiple Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entries.

The nominees are:

  • 1987 WHEN THE DAY COMES (South Korea)
  • NEWTON (India)
  • SANJU (India)
  • TOMBIRUO (Malaysia)
  • YOUTH (China)

The winner of the Best Asian Film Award will be determined by the 2018 Best Asian Film Grand Jury, led by Oscar® and multiple AFI and AACTA Award-winning actor Russell Crowe, who returns as President.

Also returning as jurors are: prolific Indian actor Anupam Kher (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, A WEDNESDAY!); five-time National Film Award of India Best Actress winner Shabana Azmi (NEERJA, THE BLACK PRINCE, ARTH); and Australian film critic, producer and presenter Margaret Pomeranz AM (THE MOVIE SHOW, AT THE MOVIES).

They will be joined by new Grand Jury members: Chinese screenwriter Liu Yi, whose film WOLF WARRIOR II is the most commercially successful Asian film in history, grossing $1 billion AUD in China in 14 days; AACTA Award-winning Australian director and producer Paul Currie (HACKSAW RIDGE, BLEEDING STEEL, THE LONGEST SHOT); Finnish director, producer and screenwriter Renny Harlin (DIE HARD 2, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, SKIPTRACE); Award-winning South Korean director and cartoonist Woo-seok Yang (THE ATTORNEY, STEEL RAIN); and Japanese actress, director, producer and writer Kiki Sugino (YUKI ONNA, YOKUDÔ, HOSPITALITÉ).



Directed by Directors Guild of America Student Award-winner Dipesh Jain, GAL GULEIYAN has become an international festival favourite, being recognised with numerous nominations and awards including the Jury Grand Prize for the Mumbai Film Festival’s Asian Gold competition.

Chosen as India’s Best Foreign Language Film entry for the 90th Oscars®, NEWTON has won numerous awards, including the CICAE Art Cinema Award in Berlinale’s 2017 Forum section and Best Film at both the Filmfare and National Film Awards.

Recently winning four awards at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in August, SANJU is the latest film from fifteen-time Filmfare Award-winning director Raj Kumar Hirani. The film has also been a box office hit, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of 2018 and one of the top ten highest-grossing Indian films of all time.

Nominated from Japan is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or-winning SHOPLIFTERS. The film has seen incredible critical and commercial success, recently being announced as Japan’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Oscars® and currently holding the record as the fourth highest grossing Japanese film of 2018.

Chinese black comedy DYING TO SURVIVE’s nomination follows incredible commercial success. The second highest-grossing film across the world on its opening weekend and the third highest-grossing film at the Chinese box office in 2018, DYING TO SURVIVE is the first Chinese-language film in 16 years to score 9 out of 10 on the Douban rating site (China’s version of Rotten Tomatoes).

Other Chinese-language films nominated are multi-award winning coming-of-age drama YOUTH – also the sixth highest-grossing domestic film of 2017 in China – and Golden Horse Award-winning female-powered Taiwanese crime drama THE BOLD, THE CORRUPT AND THE BEAUTIFUL.

Based on the real-life events that led up to the June Democratic Uprising in Korea, 1987 WHEN THE DAY COMES adds an AACTA nomination to an already long list of accolades. The South Korean political thriller won four awards at the Baeksang Arts Awards in May (Korea’s version of the Golden Globes), received four nominations for the Chunsa Film Art Awards, and is nominated for seven awards at the upcoming Buil Film Awards.

Directed by Australian and past AACTA Award winner Seth Larney, Malaysian action-adventure TOMBIRUO is based on Ramlee Awang Murshid’s bestselling 1998 novel of the same name. With two sequels already announced, the film was a box office success, becoming the second highest grossing Malaysian film of 2017.

“We are thrilled to see another incredible line-up of nominees for the Best Asian Film Award,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella. “Not only have these nine films seen incredible success in their home countries, but they have also been critical and commercial hits here in Australia and abroad. We are proud to honour these world-class films and recognise the incredible work of our neighbouring Asian film industries.”

“We are excited to see such a wonderful slate of films nominated, representing regions from all around Asia,” said EIG Chairman Kelvin Dong. “As the presenting partner for the Best Asian Film Award, we are proud to join AACTA in recognising film excellence in Asia and congratulate the nominated films.”

The winner of the Award will be announced in Sydney at the 8th AACTA Awards Ceremony presented by Foxtel on Wednesday 5 December 2018.

The long list of films in competition was reviewed and judged by three Pre-Selection Committees of esteemed industry figures. Each of the committees assessed a specific region – Chinese speaking territories, India and another committee that encompassed South Korea, Japan and other Asian territories. In accordance with their knowledge and experience, each of the committees determined three clear nominees from their allocated regions.


Winners will be announced during the two major 8th AACTA Awards events in Sydney, home of the AACTA Awards: The Industry Luncheon on Monday 3 December, followed by the AACTA Awards Ceremony & Official After Party on Wednesday 5 December, televised on Channel Seven with encore screenings on Foxtel. Tickets for both events will go on sale in early October 2018.


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