Julian Cheung a sore winner

HONG KONG - It was the night Captain Cool lost his cool.

The hit show Triumph In The Skies II won three prizes, including Best Drama, at the TVB Anniversary Awards on Monday night, but its star and the hot favourite, Julian Cheung, was not named Best Actor for his role as a charming, womanising pilot.

Instead, the prize went to comic Dayo Wong for the romantic comedy Bounty Lady, and Cheung did not hide his disappointment when he won Most Popular Male TV Character afterwards, said Ming Pao Daily News.

"Is it a sign that TVB doesn't like me?" Cheung said.

Actors who sign contracts with TVB are known as its "biological children". The star, who is not under contract with the broadcaster, added: "The biological children are of course lovely, but there are people who come when you need them, and they are called the sons and daughters of loyalty."

His barbed comment dampened the atmosphere at the ceremony, said Ming Pao, and he did not stay to speak to reporters afterwards. Triumph's other win was Best Supporting Actress for Elena Kong.

Since last year, the Hong Kong broadcaster's top three awards, Best Drama, Actor and Actress, have been open to voting. Half of each nominee's score is decided by the public and the other half by television professionals.

The popular character categories are wholly decided by viewers, however.

A blubbering Kristal Tin won both Best Actress and Most Popular Female TV Character for her role as a faithful friend in Brother's Keeper, a tale of two half-brothers who come of age apart in Hong Kong and Macau.

Tin, the wife of actor Chapman To, said: "I want to say I'm sorry, mum and dad. I didn't know I could get you tickets to the show."

The actress, who began her career at a less popular broadcaster, ATV, also thanked TVB executives.

Kong, another former ATV actress, struck a similar note in her speech.

The star, who played an ageing flight attendant in a May-December romance with Kenneth Ma's pilot in Triumph, said she almost gave up acting a few years ago because no one was watching her work on ATV.

She thanked TVB for "sheltering" her and apologised to Ma for being the "thing" rammed down his throat.

Best Supporting Actor went to Benz Hui for Bounty Lady. He played the bird-brained older brother to Wong's razor-sharp public relations expert.

Wong did not turn up at the show and the host of the night, Carol "Do Do" Cheng, had to call him in Shanghai. The two were linked in the tabloids years ago and his first words, when he heard her, were: "Do Do? It's like you haven't called me in one or two years."

When she told him that he had won Best Actor and who had voted for him, he sounded pleased as he said: "These people are professional. This is recognition."

The results released by TVB showed his total score as 48.04, higher than the 42.29 for the unnamed runner-up in the category. But his score from viewers was just 19.87, lower than the 24.37 for the runner-up.

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