Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong films dominate Taiwan’s Golden Horses

The Hollywood Reporter
'Life Without Principle' Warms Up for Oscars with Wins at Asia-Pacific Film Festival
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'Life Without Principle' Warms Up for Oscars with Wins at Asia-Pacific Film Festival

HONG KONG – They came, and they conquered again: mainland Chinese and Hong Kong filmmakers swept Taiwan’s Golden Horses Awards this year, with the island’s own contingent nearly completely brushed aside in all categories.

Gwai Lun-mei’s coronation as Best Actress (for romance drama Gf*Bf) and Chang Jung-chi’s Best New Director win (for Touch of the Light, Taiwan’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film race at the Academy Awards), in addition to composer Lo Tayu’s contribution to the Best Original Film Song (for the Hong Kong film Romance in Thin Air), provided the few moments of cheer for local audiences eager to see their own making a mark at the 49th edition of the awards, held in the town of Yilan this year.

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There was certainly no repeat of the Taiwanese triumph as in last year, when Wei Te-sheng’s historical epic Warrior of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale held off the challenge of Hong Kong film A Simple Life to take home the Best Feature Film prize. It’s particularly ironic that most Taiwanese nominees the cut, given how the awards were evenly spread among the many entries competing for the race this year.

Gao Qunshu’s Beijing Blues and Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle ended the night with three gongs apiece, with the mainland Chinese policier nabbing the Best Feature Film as well as editing and cinematography titles, and the Hong Kong suspense thriller (and the city’s representative at the Oscars) winning Best Director, Best Actor (for Lau Ching-wan) and Best Original Screenplay.

Design of Death and Mystery, both from the mainland, won two prizes each – the former for Best Supporting Actress (Liang Jing) and Best Art Direction (Lin Mu), and the latter in Best New Performer (Qi Xi) and Best Musical Score (Peyman Yazdanian and Johann Johannsson). Theoretically, both Gf*Bf and Touch of the Light secured a brace too, but the two films added to their main-category wins only with the more festival-specific titles of Audience Choice Awards (for Gf*Bf) and the Fipresci prize (for Touch of the Light).

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In other leading categories, Hong Kong’s Ronald Cheng won the Best Supporting Actor title for his turn in comedy Vulgaria. The Best Adapted Screenplay prize went to Bao Jingjing (for mainland Chinese romantic comedy Love Is Not Blind), and Best Visual Effects to the team behind Tsui Hark’s 3-D martial arts spectacle Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. The Best Documentary title went to Yung Chang’s China Heavyweight, a piece about the lives of aspiring young boxers on the mainland.

Huang Yu-siang won the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the year, with veteran actor and King Hu collaborator Shih Chun receiving the Lifetime Achievement prize.

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