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SINGAPORE [30 Sept] : There was no shortage of drama at tonight’s announcement of National Winners for the prestigious Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), with results reflecting the tight competition involving 15 nations and territories across 38 categories. 

The pacy 40-minute presentation was hosted from the AAA’s virtual 3D Theatre by Singaporean- based American actor Bobby Tonelli, who oversaw 4 tie-breakers (which required an additional round of judging) a double tie-breaker round and at least 5 Count Backs (where scores are tied and the AAA reverts to execution scores to separate them).  

For Best Actor In A Leading Role, eleven-year-old Singaporean actor Nathaniel Ng (‘My Mini Me and Me’) became a giant slayer when he took local honours over the highly fancied Pierre Png (‘A Jungle Survivor’). The scores were locked together after judging, requiring a tie-breaker. For the first time in AAA history, the scores remained locked, necessitating another tie-breaker round which crowned the Mini Me actor by a margin of 0.29 of a point.

Viu’s supernatural drama ‘Black season 2’ cleaned up with 9 National Wins for Malaysia but, perhaps surprisingly NOT Best Drama Series. But ‘Black’ wasn’t alone. Korea’s “Sweet Home” nabbed 5 wins but not Drama Series, so too New Zealand’s ‘The Gulf’ (4), China’s ‘My Heroic Husband’ (4), Singapore’s ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Ghost’ (3) and Thailand’s ‘Extraordinary Siamese Story’ (3).

Under the AAA’s tough awards system, programmes are firstly judged locally in each of the 15 participating nations and territories, with only one entry in each category going through to December’s Finals. The scoring system is based on the International Emmy system.

Netflix scored a total of 26  while PCCW streamer Viu notched up an impressive 25 wins across Hong Kong (ViuTV), Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Netflix also bucked the trend when ‘The Naked Director’ claimed 6 wins for Japan including the elusive Best Drama Series. 

For a single nation, Singapore’s Mediacorp was a powerhouse with 20 wins outright and a further 11 via production partners.

Chinese based streaming giant iQIYI claimed 8 over-all including Best Drama for “Humans”.

Amazon Prime claimed 6 including the coveted Best Original Programme by a Streamer for the acclaimed “Mirzapur”, Best Actor In A Leading Role to Manoj Bajpayee for ‘The Family Man’ and a popular win to veteran Naseeruddin Shah for Best Actor In A Supporting Role for “Bandish Bandits”.

Thailand delivered 3 of HBO’s 6 wins courtesy of the documentary series ‘Traffickers: Inside the Golden Triangle’.  Taiwanese dramas delivered the balance thanks to romcom ‘Adventure of the Ring’ (2) and ‘Dream Raider’. WarnerMedia will go into Decembers Finals with 14 National Wins.

ABS-CBN (Philippines) impressed with 11wins. Discovery scored 10 including 4 from production partners.

Taiwan relied on a tie-breaker round to decide Best Actress in a Supporting Role where Esther Liu survived to give ‘Mother To Be’ one of 4 wins including Best Drama Series. 

Of the locally based broadcasters Malaysia’s Astro claimed 11, GMA Philippines 7, Hakka TV Taiwan 7 and NHK Japan 6.

The Grand Awards will take place on Thursday December 2nd and the Red Carpet and Gala Awards on Friday December 3rd

2021 Chairman of Awards, Facebook Director Saurabh Doshi confirmed the event will be staged as a virtual production in the Asian Academy’s purpose-built 3D Theatre and Red Carpet environments.