Taiwanese filmmakers and Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) on Monday threw their weight behind the Golden Horse Awards, in response to proposals by opposition lawmakers to scrap the event after Taiwan’s poor showing this year.
“Do they want to throw away a cash cow?” Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) said, when asked about the lawmakers’ proposal after the opening ceremony of a new art theater in Taipei.
“Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards are the most highly rated and fairest awards in Chinese-speaking regions,” said Hou, who serves as chairman of the Golden Horse Film Festival.
He said the Hong Kong Film Awards are smaller in scale and China’s Golden Rooster Awards, and Hundred Flowers Awards are still one or two decades behind the Golden Horse Awards.
“So this is our biggest advantage, and we are going to let go of our biggest advantage?” said Hou, who criticized the political rhetoric of the lawmakers as “nonsense.”
Several Democratic Progressive Party legislators have criticized this year’s Golden Horse Awards for favoring Chinese films over Taiwanese films, and they questioned the political direction of the Ministry of Culture.
Films from Taiwan only won two of the 19 major categories up for grabs — best actress and best new director.
“The Golden Horse Awards are our pride,” Taiwanese movie producer Lee Lieh (李烈) said.
“In Chinese-speaking regions, a Golden Horse Award is generally accepted as the most difficult award to win and the fairest.”
She added that organizers have an annual budget of NT$10 million (US$343,800) to host the Golden Horse Awards.
“That includes hosting the awards ceremony, the film festival and other events. It’s not enough,” she said, urging the public to stop its criticism.
Lung reiterated her comparison of the Golden Horse Awards with the Venice Film Festival, saying that “no Italians would ask why the Venice Film Festival did not award Italians.”
She said that if the public was really concerned about Taiwanese films, it should encourage Taiwanese filmmakers to keep on producing good movies and not worry about receiving awards.