It’s time to take a look at the Best Supporting Actress nominees at the 27th Malaysia Film Festival (FFM27)! The awards ceremony, due on the 5th of September, will see top honours in the film industry handed out to several filmmakers and actors, and we’re here to talk about some very talented potential winners.
Now we’ve come to the Most Promising Actress category and we have five new talents waiting to reach stratospheric heights. One of these women could be the next Nadiya Nisaa; who will it be?
Before we begin, we have some useful information courtesy of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS). The criteria for choosing a recipient for an acting award involves a few simple questions: Is the performance realistic? Is the actress casted suitable to play the role? Does the acting realise the character?
With that in mind, let’s begin evaluating these contenders!
Aisya Hasnaa as Rina in Dollah Superstar
Aisya Hasnaa plays Rina, one of many supporting characters in this underrated Kabir Bhatia masterpiece. As a member of the production team in the film, she’s the sensible one who keeps all the other characters under control.
Our verdict: Aisya carried her role as an underpaid, overworked production assistant perfectly; she was even highlighted in a review of the film in The Star! She appears from time to time and is a simply loveably presence, never resorting to over-the-top acting for attention. This girl will go a long way, but we don’t think Rina will bag her the win.
Female characters in male-dominated movies are often portrayed as either highly-sexualised dilettantes, or rational, reliable, go-to-women; as much as we enjoyed her performance, we don’t believe Aisya broke any new ground in Dollah Superstar.
Adiba Yunus as Mira in Nasi Tangas
Also known as Nasi Kangkang, the film stars Adiba Yunus as Mira, girlfriend to cafe co-owner Hairi. Hairi is best of friends with Fatin, a comrade from his college days who also runs the cafe. Everything seems to go well enough when Mira and Hairi marry, but Mira has issues with the aforementioned friendship. Mira then goes to great lengths in order to keep Hairi by her side and things get super f***ed up.
Our verdict: As grossed out and disgusted by many of the shocking visuals in Nasi Tangas, we must commend Adiba Yunus for willing to go through all this for a career in film. It’s certainly one way to make an entrance into the industry!
Nad Zainal as Peanut in Kami Histeria
As for those who’ve seen Kami Histeria, we’re sure you’re rooting for Nad Zainal. In the film, Nad plays Peanut, the silent hippie who we suspect is the stoner chick of the film’s titular band. She never speaks, except during a pivotal scene in which she screams for help and it’s one of the major hair-raising moments of the film.
Our verdict: Nad Zainal is pretty intimidating in person; she’s cool as a cucumber and she has huge eyes which stare right through your soul. Kami Histeria showed that she was capable of completely transforming herself into someone else and we are extremely interested in seeing what else she has in the bag.
Also did you know that Nad was the only one chosen by Shamyl Othman for the cast of Kami Histeria? The rest were up to the casting director! We think this definitely says something about her as a talent, but will she win this award? Hmmm. We think she’d appeal the most to the jury, but most people in their right mind is going to go for our next contender…
Dawn Cheong as Brenda in Cuak
Of Chinese heritage, Brenda is about to be married to Adam, a Malay-Muslim, and they’re in a bit of a panic. Are they sure they want to do this? Is life only going to get worse after marriage? How much further are they willing to go for love?
These are some of the tough questions addressed by Brenda and Adam in Cuak. Yes, some of these are zany and amusing, but eventually our characters find themselves making choices in the face of life and death.
Our verdict: “Oh my God! F***ing Dawn Cheong, man!” we exclaimed upon watching Cuak. You see, we weren’t expecting this sort of calibre to be in the Harapan categories; we were completely sold on her performance. And it’s not just us – in addition to a Most Promising Actress nomination, Dawn was also nominated for Best Actress!
Seeing as she’s the only one of the lot whose performance was considered strong enough for the major major award category, we think it’s a given lah that she’s taking this home. But we don’t know for sure, though we bite our nails in anticipation to find out if she does actually take home any (or both!) of the awards on the 5th of September.
Izara Aisyah as Nita in Sejoli
Izara plays Nita, a high-fashion high-maintenance kind of girl who forms a relationship with Jo (Bront Palarae). They were set for marriage but Nita leaves Jo for the richer and more handsome Hardy (Remy Ishak).
Our verdict: Izara is one of the industry’s big entrants and she was also in Osman Ali‘s box office smash Pilot Cafe earlier in the year. For her role in Sejoli, she’s also up for an award for Best Supporting Actress, suggesting that her performance has an edge over the others in this particular category.
In our analysis from last week, we considered Izara’s performance to be “en pointe” but also deemed her character “recycled”. Her chances are probably quite high given that FFM is a mainstream award institution, but we cannot say anything at this point.
The Daily Seni’s Choice
All we’ll say is that based on this year’s nominations and pure logic, Dawn Cheong and Izara Aisyah have already triumphed over the rest of the nominees in this category because their work was considered good enough for the major categories. Nad Zainal would have had a chance if she had a bigger part in the film, though she does not need to fret just yet – bigger, better roles are coming for her in the future.
Here at The Daily Seni, we were blown away by one nominee, and that nominee happens to be Dawn Cheong. Her acting felt genuine; she’s not just presenting ideas and emotions in Cuak – she’s actually living them. Heartfelt, sincere and beautiful, her work in the film may not have reached a whole lot of people but those who have seen the movie might just have felt an impact that could last a lifetime.