Tony Leung Wins Lifetime Achievement Award at Venice Film Festival

Tony Leung Wins Lifetime Achievement Award at Venice Film Festival

The legendary Hong Kong singer and actor was moved to tears while accepting the prestigious Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award

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3:10 PM HKT, Mon September 4, 2023 1 mins read

Iconic Hong Kong actor Tony Leung has been presented with the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the 80th Venice Film Festival.

Leung, known for films such as “Infernal Affairs” (2002) and “Lust, Caution” (2007), delivered an emotional acceptance speech upon receiving the award from longtime collaborator, Director Ang Lee.

“You want to make me cry!” Leung said after Lee praised him effusively and presented him with the honor.

Leung has a long history of wins at the prestigious film festival, with three of his films - “A City of Sadness” (1989), “Cyclo” (1995) and “Lust, Caution” (2007) - having won the Golden Lion top prize.

“Lust, Caution” (2007)

“Lust, Caution” (2007)

“I am so grateful to have been raised in Hong Kong, as well as being nurtured later by the Hong Kong movie industry...where my acting career began,” Leung told the audience.

“I also want to share this honor and give thanks to all the wonderful people who I have worked with over the past 41 years, because this is a tribute to them as well — and of course, to Hong Kong cinema.”

Ang Lee, who directed Tony Leung in “Lust, Caution,” called the 61-year-old actor an “inspiration for others” who can communicate “more in one look than many actors with a full monologue.”

He also praised Leung’s work ethic, recalling how he preferred to stay on set and watch others work rather than relax during downtime.

“We always think that directors help actors, but sometimes it’s the other way around,” Lee said.

Perhaps best known for 2000’s “In the Mood for Love,” which won him the Best Actor award at Cannes, Leung gained international fame through his collaborations with director Wong Kar-wai.

“It is like a dream come true,” Leung told reporters ahead of the ceremony, noting that acting helped him become less shy after suppressing feelings in his youth.

Leung also discussed his upcoming work, including the Hong Kong crime thriller “The Goldfinger” and his first European film, “Silent Friend.”

The latter, directed by Hungary’s Ildikó Enyedi, will see Leung taking on the role of a neuroscientist.

“I plan to spend like eight months (preparing for it) because I’m playing a neuroscientist. I have no idea about what neuroscience is. So I have to read a lot of books and I have to do a lot of university hopping,” he said.

Leung, who recently set the internet ablaze with a surprise appearance in a music video from K-Pop group NewJeans, has been enjoying something of a victory lap.

He joins a prestigious list of Lifetime Achievement recipients at Venice that includes Hayao Miyazaki, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorsese. At 61, Leung is one of the youngest honorees in the award’s history - a testament to his enduring talent and cultural impact.

Cover image via Ipernity

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