There was a rare winter typhoon blowing across the island, but it did not stop the 41st Golden Horse Awards from running in Taichung yesterday on what turned out to be a sunny day.
Kekexili (可可西里) took the Best Picture, while Jacky Chan's New Police Story (新警察故事) was the biggest winner last night, taking Best Supporting Actor, Best Visual Effects, Best Action Choreography and The Audience award.
The Best Actress award went to Yang Kuei-mei (楊貴媚) for The Moon Also Rises (月光下我記得). She said she had finally graduated because she had been nominated so many times. Amidst tears she kept repeating, "I've won, I've won," and said she was glad hadn't given up.
The outcome of the tight battle between Andy Lau (劉德華) and Tony Leung (梁朝偉) was finally revealed with Lau taking the honors for Infernal Affairs III (無間道III終極無間). He had been nominated for Best Actor the past three years and thanked the jury members for picking him this time. He added that he had been honored to compete with Leung for the last two years and they would no doubt be going up against each other in the future.
The Best Supporting Actor was awarded to Daniel Wu (吳彥祖) for New Police Story (新警察故事). He said he was grateful to Jackie Chan for letting him take on the role. Born in the US, Wu said he was a naive man when he first went to Hong Kong seven years ago. He then said he was still a naive man, but now he had an award. He concluded by saying he was "definitely going to get drunk."
Bai Ling (白靈) was honored with The Best Supporting Actress for Three ... Extremes: Dumplings (三更之餃子). It was Bai's first Chinese-language film, as she's found work in Hollywood and been cast in such movies as The Red Corner with Richard Gere and Anna and the King with Chow Yun Fat.
There was also keen competition in the Best Director award category but Johnnie To (杜琪鋒) took the prize for the second time with Breaking News (大事件).
The joint-winner of Best New Performer was Tony Yang Yu-Nin (楊佑寧) for Formula 17 (十七歲的天空). The Taiwanese Christian thanked god for his award. The film was the second-biggest local film of the year, with a box-office take of NT$6 million. The other winner, 18-year-old Hong Hao-Xuan (洪顥瑄), who has just passed her entrance exam to attend a university in Taichung, was also recognized for her movie Bear Hug (擁抱大白熊). She reckoned Taichung was bringing her luck, which pleased the home crowd.
The Lifetime Achievement award this year went to 87-year-old A Pi Po (呵匹婆), who was awarded the honor for her work in Taiwan cinema. She was famous as a black-and-white film actress from the 1950s to the 1970s and simply hoped that everyone would experience good fortune in the years to come.
Earlier in the day some 2,000 Taichung residents gathered on the sides of the red carpet -- the so-called "Star Boulevard" -- to star gaze. Hundreds of others crammed by the window of the nearby McDonald's, trying to spot the stars.
Celebrities included John Woo (吳宇森), Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), Vanessa Mae and two of Taiwan's taekwondo Olympic medalists. Unfortunately, they were mostly special guests and not nominees.
Despite the low attendance by actual nominees, the number of films competing for the Golden Horse Awards reached a new high this year. A total of 110 films (including shorts) were nominated.
"Lack of innovation in styles and stories is Hong Kong's weakness this year," one jury member said, but agreed that it was the movie powerhouse in the region.