Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Rain scares off the stars

FILM FUNK The `Star Boulevard' event, part of the Golden Horse Film Awards, may be rained out -- and at least one of Asia's biggest film starts will be a no-show


A looming typhoon and lack of star power is threatening to put a damper on the traditionally glittering Chinese-language movie "Oscars" in Taichung, organizers said on the eve of today's event.

The cream of Asian acting talent is among more than 100 nominees up for prizes at the 41st annual Golden Horse Film Awards today, but Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) is just one of a raft of big-name stars who will be absent from the event.

Hong Kong heart-throb Andy Lau (劉德華), tipped by industry watchers to win best actor, tops the list of stars who will tread the red carpet, while leading French director Olivier Assayas -- whose film Clean won the best actress award for his ex-wife Maggie Cheung (張曼玉) at Cannes this year -- is also attending.

About half the nominees will be missing from the showcase event due to their hectic shooting schedules ahead of the busy Lunar New Year film program, Wang Ching-hua (王清華), secretary general of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Executive Committee, said yesterday.

But Wang said he was more concerned by the threat of having the red carpet reception -- the so-called Star Boulevard -- washed out by a typhoon.

"It is quite common that the more popular stars are absent as they might be busier making movies during this time of year. However, we are more concerned about the coming typhoon that might jeopardize the Star Boulevard event," Wang said.

"If the storm hits really hard ... or dumps too much rain, then we will have to cancel the Star Boulevard," he said.

The Golden Horse Film Awards showcases cinematic talent from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Lau -- who missed out on the best actor award last year after being nominated for Infernal Affairs I -- has been given another nod for his role Infernal Affairs 3, but faces stiff competition from fellow Hong Kong actors Leung (2046) and Jacky Cheung (成龍, Golden Chicken II) as well as Duobuji from China (Kekexili: Mountain Patrol).

Internationally-acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai (王家衛), whose 2046 leads the field with eight nominations -- although surprisingly not in the best director category -- will be absent along with leading stars of the film, Zhang and Leung. A spokeswoman for Wong's Jet Tone films has denied the stars are snubbing the event over Wong's exclusion form the best director list, although she said they were "puzzled" by his omission.

The nominees for best director include three from Hong Kong -- Fruit Chan (陳果, Three ... Extremes: Dumplings), Johnnie To (杜琪峰, Breaking News) and Derek Yee (爾冬陞, One Nite in Mongkok) -- as well as China's Lu Chuan (陸川, Kekexili: Mountain Patrol).

But 2046 is still favorite to win best film over Breaking News, One Nite in Mongkok, Kekexili and Taiwan's The Moon Also Rises.

Noted Taiwanese model Lin Chih-ling (林志玲) and TV host Keven Tsai (蔡康永) will host the event, which will be televised live, at which 21 awards will be handed out.

Taiwan's two Athens' Olympics medalists in taekwondo, noted Chinese-American violinist Chen Mae (陳美) and the young Taiwanese singing group "5566" will be guest performers. Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎), who won the gold medal in lightweight taekwondo, and Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣), who also took gold in the women's lightweight division, will perform a dance mixed with martial arts.

Chen Mae is scheduled to play a number of electric violins that have never been played before, Wang said.

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