Female actors lose out at Burmese film awards

Feb 10, 2009 (DVB), Burmese actresses, fans and reporters were shocked to learn that no awards would be given for best actress or best supporting actress at this year's Academy Awards, which were held on Saturday.

The Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Awards made the announcement just before the ceremony in Naypyidaw on Saturday, surprising actresses tipped to win the awards, fans who had been waiting to see their favourite stars, and reporters who had their cameras ready to take shots of the winners.

Information minister Kyaw Hsan said during his speech at the opening of the ceremony that qualified winners had been carefully chosen by the board after several viewings of the 10 films produced in the year 2007.

Only six awards were given out this year instead of the usual 11.

A source from movie world said that prizes were not being awarded due to indiscretions involving senior government officials and potential winners.

"We heard there was a problem because of two senior government officials who accepted favours from two actresses widely tipped to win the award this year," the source said.

Two-time academy award winner Soe Myat Thuzar and fellow actress Khine Thin Kyi, who starred together in Amay ne Theme Myar (Mother and her daughters) were favourites to win the award this year.

Khine Thin Kyi said she had not heard the rumours about senior officials but that she had been sad to learn she would not win an award after she put so much effort into her role and had such high expectations of the award.

"It’s like you cannot get hold of something, no matter how hard you try, when you have no luck," she said.

"It was a good movie and I did my best in it as I am now the only actress of my generation who hasn’t won an award."

Soe Myat Thuzar was unavailable for comment.

Rumours have been circulating in Burma that the decision not to give out awards to female actors is was part of yaddaya activities, a form of Burmese magic followed by senior government leaders.

Journal vendors said sales of journals were down compared to this time last year, and blamed the decline in interest on the lack of pictures of female award winners.

The film Koe Sae Sa Thar Laint Mae (90 times better) scooped the four major awards at this year's ceremony, including for best film.

The film's stars Kyaw Ye Aung and Moe De won best actor and best supporting actor respectively, while the film's director Myo Taw Maung Yin Aung won the best director award.

Reporting by Yee May Aung and Shwe Aung

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