THE 2007 Myanmar Academy Awards produced both the expected and
the unexpected. As predicted, acclaimed drama Koe Sae Sa Thar
Laint Mae (Ninety Times More) swept the field on February 7, taking
out five of the six awards on offer, including Best Film, Best
Director and Best Actor.
The surprise of the night was that no awards were given for
female acting roles and the total number of awards was well down
on past years. Generally at least 11 awards are presented at the
Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Award ceremony, which has been
held annually since 1952.
There was no explanation from the organisers, leaving the rest
of us to ponder whether the decision was taken because of the
quality of female performances in 2007. If so, it was a harsh
reflection on Khine Thin Kyi, Soe Myat Thuzar and Nandar Hlaing,
who were expected to compete for the prized Best Actress award.
For those involved in Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae, which portrays
the simple life of a family in a village and their strong belief
in tradition and custom, the night lived up to expectations, and
The drama was awarded the Best Film prize, while Maung Yin Aung
received the Best Director award, Kyaw Ye Aung won Best Actor
and Sein Mutta was honoured for Best Music.
But the highlight of the night for many was a win for sentimental
favourite Moe Di in the Best Supporting Actor category. As actor
Tun Tun Win prepared to announce the prize, an audible whisper
broke out in the crowd. Would it be Moe Di? Was about to win his
first Academy Award?
As Tun Tun Win called out “Moe Di”, the room erupted
in applause. It was a fitting tribute to the 61-year-old comedian
and actor, who has worked in the entertainment industry since
he was 15.
“I’m just a comedian. But in this film I played
the role of a father. I have to thank the producer and director
of this film for giving me the chance to show that I can also
act in a drama film. In real life, I’m a father of four
sons and I was able to play this character well because of my
children,” Moe Di said in his acceptance speech.
Before Moe Di’s success – the third award of the
night – the ceremony began with Sein Mutta receiving the
Best Music prize. It was his second Academy Award, having previously
won in 2004 with Pan Dandaryi (The Legend of Flowers).
Maung Yin Aung was the next to be honoured, taking out Best
Director, his first Academy Award. Then came Best Film, which,
while not strictly a personal award, must have been immensely
satisfying for Maung Yin Aung, who also wrote the screenplay for
Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae.
The Academy Award judges praised the film, which was produced
by Myint Marlar Film Production, for its expression of parental
love, the rituals of Myanmar tradition and the discrimination
between rich and poor. The film’s name – Koe Sae Sa
Thar Laint Mae (Ninety Times More) – refers to parental
love being ninety times more than the love expressed by children
in return. In the film, the father is played by Moe Di and the
aggressive but honest son by Kyaw Ye Aung, who was rewarded with
the final award of the night, for Best Actor.
The win ended Kyaw Ye Aung’s 11-year wait for a second
Academy Award, having previously taken out the Best Actor prize
in 1996 with Tharthamee Zanee Kyinyar (Children, Wife and Life
The audience was reminded there were other films in the field
– nine, in fact – when Kyauk Phyu (Padaythar) was
presented the award for Best Picture for the beautifully-shot
Nga Dar Nga Thway Nga Ayeyarwady (My Sword, My Blood, My Ayeyarwady).
It was Kyauk Phyu’s third Academy Award, after winning the
same category in 2002 with Yaukkhama So Tar Ta Khar Tone Ka Tha
Met Par Pae (A Father-in-law Was Once a Son-in-law) and in 2003
with Amae Noe Phoe (Pay respect to the mother’s milk).
The dominance of drama films at the 2007 awards is unlikely
to be seen in 12 months time when the 2008 awards are presented,
as the film industry has moved towards light comedies, with popular
celebrities filling the lead roles.
But the Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Nyan Win, told The Myanmar
Times before the opening of the ceremony that the satisfaction
of the audience was the primary concern for those involved in
the film industry.
“On behalf of the artists, I’m pleased to see such
an impressive ceremony being held. But it also gives the audience
the opportunity to meet with their favourite stars and they get
the chance to not only see the artists’ performance in the
films but, because of this event, they can feel and see them in
their real lives too,” U Nyan Win said. “If the audiences
are happy, we are happy too.”
The audience might be less than happy with the decision to present
only six awards, however.
This number – the smallest in 14 years – was a sharp
drop from last year, when eight male artists and two female artists
were rewarded for their efforts in 2006.
The 2007 ceremony was the third held in the new capital Nay
2007 winner list:
|1. Best Film
|| Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae
(Ninety Times More)
|2. Best Actor
||Kyaw Ye Aung, Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint
|3. Best Director
|| Maung Yin Aung, Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint
|4. Best Supporting Actor
|| Moe Di, Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae
|5. Best Music
|| Sein Mutta, Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae
|6. Best Picture
||Kyauk Phyu (Padaythar), Nga Dar Nga
Thway Nga Ayeyarwady (My Sword, My Blood, My Ayeyarwady)