Sun, Dec 07, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan in the spotlight at awards

A STARRY NIGHT‘Cape No. 7’ shone at the annual awards ceremony, while other Taiwanese movies beat big-budget movies such as ‘Red Cliff’ in other categories

By Ho yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Veteran Taiwanese actors dominated both the best supporting actor and actress categories at the 45th Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎) held at the Taichung Chungshan Hall last night.

Seasoned actress Mei Fang (梅芳), a first-time nominee at the Golden Horse, ignited a big round of applause as she picked up the best supporting actress award for Orz Boyz (囧男孩). Ma Ju-long (馬如龍) bested Hong Kong’s Eason Chan (陳奕迅) and China’s Hu Jun (胡軍) to walk away with the trophy for his role in Cape No. 7.

“I have been in the business for 45 years. It is my first time being nominated and I won … I am really grateful to the director and producer who insisted on dragging me out of my retirement life in the US,” the excited Mei said backstage.

What made this year’s awards different from previous editions was the high likelihood that Taiwanese movies would win in major categories. Having broken the NT$460 million (US$13.7 million) mark to become the highest-grossing Chinese-language movie in Taiwan, Cape No. 7 (海角七號) picked up nine nominations. Yang Ya-che’s much-acclaimed children’s film Orz Boyz also made it onto the nomination list in four categories, including Best Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

Johnnie To’s (杜琪峰) Sparrow (文雀) gave Cheng Siu-keung (鄭兆強), the director’s long-term partner, a well-deserved moment of fame as the veteran professional picked up the honor for best cinematography.

As a surprise to many, Taiwanese movies beat out big-budget epics The Warlords (投名狀) and Red Cliff (赤壁) in the technical categories. Chao Shih-hao (趙思豪) won the best art direction award for Parking (停車), while Luke Huang (黃育男) and Sai Com (康俊偉) picked up the Best Makeup and Costume Design for Candy Rain (花吃了那女孩) a lesbian ballad by Taiwan’s renowned musical director Chen Hung-i (陳宏一).

Cape No. 7 was already a winner early in the evening as its musical talent took home the best original film score and best original film song.

This year’s FIPRESCI prize went to Parking by seasoned TV commercial director and cinematographer Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏).

Taiwanese cinema reigned over short films, with female director Chiang Hsiu-chiung (姜秀瓊) taking home the trophy for Hopscotch (跳格子), a tale about a tow truck driver and an art teacher.

Local talent lost the best documentary award to Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang (張僑勇), awarded for his exploration on the destructive impact of the Three Gorges Dam in Up the Yangtze (沿江而上).

The Lifetime Achievement Award this year went to 85-year-old Chang Feng (常楓), who began performing on stage when serving in the military in 1940’s China. During his 60-year acting career, Chang was given the best leading and supporting actor accolades at the Golden Horse for his performances in Fragrant Flower Versus Noxious Grass (香花與毒草, 1976) and The Warmth of an Old House (頤園飄香, 1984) respectively.

A Special Contribution Award was handed to veteran film historian and critic Huang Jen (黃仁). Born in 1925, Huang has devoted himself to bringing new ideas to the country’s film circle and has been highly esteemed for his contributions as chief editor and author behinds countless film magazines, periodicals and publications.

The red-carpet parade saw a troupe of international stars and celebrities that included Ang Lee (李安), Shu Qi (舒淇), Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊) and three-time Cesar Award-winning French actor and director Mathieu Amalric.

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