The nomination list for the 44th Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎) was announced last Saturday and the controversy it's stirred up augurs bickering for weeks to come. Naturally, Ang Lee's (李安) Lust, Caution (色,戒) leads the pack with 11 nominations including best film, best director and best leading actor and actress, but the rest of the list has raised film critics' eyebrows. All the major categories are dominated by Chinese productions that have shoved Hong Kong and Taiwanese movies into minor categories.
In the four acting categories, actress Chang Chun-ning (張鈞甯) is the only local candidate, up against the overseas troop while Qing Fei De Yi (情非得已之生存之道), a debut feature by Taiwanese actor-turned-director Doze Niu (鈕承澤), somehow got a slot in the best film category.
Jay Chou (周杰倫) is reportedly down in the dumps as his box-office success, Secret (不能說的秘密), earned only a few nominations in technical categories. Another disillusioned director, Chang Tso-chi (張作驥), considered withdrawing his latest film, Butterfly (蝴蝶), from the Golden Horse Film Festival (金馬影展), but later decided to let audiences judge the work, which took nearly three years to make and received no nominations, for themselves.
Heated debates on the professionalism of the festival jury members and impartiality of the voting system are likely to ensue. As far as star-chasers are concerned, this year's awards ceremony promises to be a lackluster affair.
On a happier showbiz note, boy band F4 received another straight-A report card from the Tourism Bureau (觀光局) for holding not one, but four separate fan get-togethers. Fans of the group descended on the capital from Japan, South Korea and even further afield.
Of the four members, Jerry Yan (言承旭) appeared to be the most accessible as a NT$300 ticket came with a chance to play basketball with the heartthrob. Ken Chu (朱孝天), on the other hand, asked NT$1,000 from fans for an intimate diner date that included delicacies made by a star chef. It is estimated that the foursome's efforts gave the economy a NT$100 million boost each day. We suspect album sales also went up.
What is the fastest way to make it onto the gossip front-pages if you are a nobody? Apparently, for a Chinese drag queen who calls him/herself Zcu Kaiyun (鄒開雲), the fastest shortcut to fame was to claim he was Tang Wei's body double in the steamy sex scenes with Tony Leung in Lust, Caution. Shortly after the creative publicity stunt, Zcu issued a public apology on his blog (i.mop.com/qvbgafcu).
In real life, Tony Leung (梁朝偉) is, reportedly, expected to tie the knot with his girlfriend, Carina Lau (劉嘉玲), who recently won the best leading actress gong at the Golden Rooster Awards (金雞獎), China's most prestigious movie accolades.
The speculation comes after Lau said she would seriously give marriage some thought before the awards ceremony. "When I am done thinking, I'll make the announcement," Lau was quoted as saying.