Hong Kong blockbusters swept the major prizes of Taiwan’s 42nd annual Golden Horse Film Awards, considered the ” Oscars” of the Chinese-language film industry.
KEELUNG, Taiwan (AFP)
Stephen Chow (“Kung Fu Hustle”) became the biggest winner of the event, rewarded with the best picture and best director awards, his first Golden Horses. But he was not present to claim his prizes.
Set in 1930s Shanghai, Chow’s trademark slapstick comedy has seen the director finally break through to overseas, and in particular, US audiences.
In what may have been the biggest surprise of this year’s Golden Horse event, Aaron Kwok Fu Shing (“Divergence”) edged out fellow Hong Konger Tony Leung Ka-fai to take the award for best actor.
Kwok said he had not starred in many movies and the award marked “another beginning” for his career.
“I will continue to work harder,” he said.
“I want to thank my parents. Without them, I would not have made it today.”
Also vying with Leung in the best actor category were Taiwan’s Chang Chen (“Three Times”), and Chen Kun (“A West Lake Moment”).
Taiwanese screen siren Shu Qi, five-time Golden Horse nominee, walked away with the best actress award for her role in the three-segment romance “Three Times.”
“I want to thank director Hou (Hsiao-hsien), my parents for their continued support,” a tearful Shu said.
Shu’s rivals were Chen Shiang-chyi (“The Wayward Cloud”), Miriam Yeung (“Drink, Drank, Drunk”) and Michelle Krusiec (“Saving Face”).
Six out of 10 film critics surveyed by the Taipei-based Ming Sheng Daily had favored Leung to take home one of the 18 Golden Horses for his role in “Election,” the story of a bloody power struggle in a Hong Kong triad society.
Six critics had also expected Chow to win the best director statue following his sweep of the Hong Kong Film Awards earlier this year for “Kung Fu Hustle”, the most commercially successful movie in the competition.
Yuen Qiu, a first-time Golden Horse nominee, was rewarded with the best supporting actress prize for her role in “Kung Fu Hustle.” Yuen defeat Taiwan’s Hsiao Shu-shen (“Love’s Lone Flower”).
“My head is empty. I don’t know what to say at this moment,” Yuen said.
Anthony Wong, from “Initial D,” edged out Yuen Wah (“Kung Fu Hustle”) to take home the best supporting actor award.
“I want to thank the director for giving me space to be creative,” Wong said.
An array of stars treaded the “blue carpet” at the cultural center in northern Keelung city, where police tightened security after the first death threat in the history of the Golden Horse event.
A man who demanded five million Taiwan dollars (148,809 US) from event organizers was arrested earlier in the week.
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” director Ang Lee and heart-throb actor Takeshi Kaneshiro attended the gala but Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan and Andy Lau, injured on location in Beijing, were not on the guest list.
Hong Kong blockbusters eclipsed Taiwanese art house films at this year’s event, with Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s “Election” up for 11 Golden Horses including best director and best picture, and “Kung Fu Hustle” nominated in 10 categories.
Legendary Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “Three Times” lost to Chow despite its nine nominations.
Taiwan’s popular pop music singer Jay Chou (“Initial D”), nominated for the first time in the category of best new performer, beat his rivals — Isabella Leonh (“Bug Me Not!”), Race Wong (“Ab-normal Beauty”), and Megan Lai (“How’s Life?”)
“I’m really happy. It is very important,” Chou said.
The trophy seemed to surprise the singer, who told reporters before the ceremony: “I am not confident this time.”
The lifetime achievement award went to Ke Hsiang-ting, 88, who has played in more than 170 movies since 1941. Ke, twice winner of the Golden Horse best actor category, received a standing ovation from a capacity hall of hundreds of stars and guests.
The Golden Horse Awards are styled on the US Academy Awards, but are decided by a jury along the lines of the Cannes film festival.