Lim Kay Tong only Singapore actor to win at Asian Television Awards
Veteran actor Lim Kay Tong wins S'pore's only acting award at last night's 20th Asian Television Awards.
Singapore actors and actresses "definitely have some catching up to do" with their Asian counterparts, says actor and theatre veteran Lim Kay Tong.
Lim was the only Singapore actor to win an acting award yesterday evening at the 20th Asian Television Awards (ATA) held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The 61-year-old was honoured for his role as a mysterious old man in the HBO Asia horror mini-series Grace.
Yesterday's results were a stark contrast to last year, when Pierre Png and Rayson Tan picked up accolades for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role while comedienne Irene Ang won Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress.
The annual ATA celebrates the region's best on the small screen.
Lim, who played the late Lee Kuan Yew in local movie 1965 earlier this year, told The New Paper after the awards ceremony: "This year, there is a lot of competition. There are actors from China, Japan, Thailand, et cetera. The TV industries in these countries are more developed, so naturally the actors are more developed too.
"In fact, I would say that most of the Asian region has had a head start, so our local actors definitely have some catching up to do.
"But it's a good thing. Awards like the ATA will push our actors to continue improving their skills so that they can compete with the big guns."
In his acceptance speech on stage, Lim said: "While HBO, being an international company, has assembled people from the US, Taiwan and Australia for Grace, the bulk of this drama's cast and crew are Singaporeans.
"I thank HBO for putting their faith in us."
ALL DOLLED UP: Local actor Pierre Png (second from right) walking the red carpet with (from left) Malaysian actor Melvin Sia and Taiwanese actresses Ruby Lin and Hong Qi-Yang. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
He told reporters backstage that being honoured was "very encouraging" for him. With a laugh, he added that he used to be hungrier for success in his younger days, but after 40 years in the acting business, his "expectations for accolades aren't very high any more".
Sadly, there were no Singapore winners in the top acting categories - Best Actor and Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Pierre Png, 42, lost to Chinese actor Zhang Jia-Yi while fellow nominee Felicia Chin lost to acclaimed Chinese actress Zhou Xun.
Chin, 31, said: "I'm not upset at all. In fact, I feel extremely honoured seeing my name up there on screen alongside so many Asian superstars."
MAYBE NEXT YEAR: Local stars Joanne Peh and Chen Hanwei were nominated in the Best Supporting Actress and Actor categories but went home empty-handed.TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
Local actress Joanne Peh, looking chic in a black-and-white get-up with a smart bow tie, talked about motherhood on the red carpet.
The 32-year-old told hosts Max Loong and Munah Bagharib: "Oh, I definitely have lots of help (looking after my four-month-old daughter) at home. I have my husband (fellow actor Qi Yuwu), a nanny and a helper. I can't do it alone."
She went home empty-handed though, losing in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category to Thai actress Nusba Punnakanta.
Veteran actress Mimi Chu, who grew up in Singapore and is a well-known face among heartlanders, lost the Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress accolade to Hong Kong singer-actress Ivana Wong.
Nevertheless, the 61-year-old, who was also nominated in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category, was a hoot on the red carpet.
When asked if there are any characters she has yet to play in her three-decade career, she exclaimed to laughter from many: "Yes, I want to play a young and beautiful girl!"
Later, when asked if she was upset over her double loss, she said: "Do I look sad? Nah. At my age, I'm happy that I'm working more actively than a lot of younger entertainers."
Last night's event also saw performances by French-Indonesian singer Anggun, Taiwanese balladeer Jeff Chang, South Korean girl group Secret and Swedish boy band JTR.
IN SYNC: K-pop girl group Secret performed at last night's awards show.TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
Anggun, a judge on reality talent competition Asia's Got Talent, performed hit song Saviour from the soundtrack of Hollywood flick The Transporter 2.
But the surprise head-turner of the night was sexy Thai actress-singer Karnklao "Grace" Duaysianklao, who presented the awards for Best Reality Show and Best Comedy Performance with Ah Boys To Men stars Tosh Zhang and Wang Weiliang.
The 27-year-old sent temperatures rising when she strutted onto the red carpet in a shoulder-and-cleavage-baring bright red dress.
It prompted Wang to cheekily ask if she liked funny guys and when Duaysianklao said yes, he quickly pointed to himself.
MAIN WINNERS AT 20TH ASIAN TELEVISION AWARDS
Best Actor in a Leading Role Zhang Jia-Yi (China)
Best Actress in a Leading Role Zhou Xun (China)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Lim Kay Tong (Singapore)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nusba Punnakanta (Thailand)
Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress Ivana Wong (Hong Kong)
Best Drama Series The Incomplete (South Korea)
Best Entertainment Presenter/Host Nick Baker (Hong Kong)
Best Music Programme I Am A Singer Season 3 (China)
Best Single Drama or Telemovie Spinster Diaries (South Korea)