One of China’s most acclaimed directors, a rising star with a tragic story and a documentary charting mass protests have all won top prizes at this year’s Golden Horse awards.
The 55th annual awards – dubbed the “Chinese Oscars” – were held in the Taiwanese capital Taipei on Saturday.
Zhang Yimou’s Shadow took home the most awards, including Best Director for the 68-year-old screen veteran.
Best Film went to novelist-turned-director Hu Bo for his first feature.
An Elephant Sitting Still was an adaptation of his own novel, which told the story of four people who run away from their troubles to search for a mythical elephant.
Hu took his own life in the Chinese capital Beijing last year, aged 29. His mother accepted the award on his behalf, thanking the jury and the audience.
Best documentary was won by Fu Yue, for Our Youth in Taiwan, about the island’s 2014 Sunflower Movement.
Accepting the award, she said: ” “I hope one day our country will be recognised and treated as a truly independent entity. This is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese.”
Taiwan’s status is sensitive. The island has been self-ruling since 1949 but China regards it as a breakaway province it will reunite with one day.
Worries for future awards
By Cindy Sui, BBC News, Taipei
Politics got in the way last night and threatens future awards ceremonies.
Fu Yue, a Taiwanese winner who made a documentary about Taiwan’s anti-China Sunflower Movement, dropped a bombshell in her acceptance speech, saying that she really hoped Taiwan would become an independent country one day.
Mainland Chinese former Best Actor winner Tu Men then raised more eyebrows by saying he was honoured to present an award in “China, Taiwan” a phrase many Taiwanese object to. He added the two sides were like a close family.
Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee tried to defuse the tensions by calling for politics to be kept out of the awards. But leading Chinese actress Gong Li, chair of the jury, declined to stand on stage with him, reportedly because of the Taiwanese documentary winner’s pro-independence comment.
Many Chinese celebrities reportedly did not attend the after-ceremony party and left Taiwan early.
This leaves Ang Lee, who chairs the Golden Horse committee, very worried about next year’s awards. The festival and awards bring together the best in Chinese-language films. In the past, they’ve been able to avoid politics but not, apparently, in the current tense atmosphere.
The Golden Horse film awards: Who won what?
- Best Feature Film: An Elephant Sitting Still
- Best Director: Zhang Yimou, Shadow
- Best Leading Actor: Xu Zheng, Dying to Survive
- Best Leading Actress: Hsieh Ying-xuan, Dear EX
- Best Supporting Actor: Ben Yuen, Tracey
- Best Supporting Actress: Ding Ning, Cities of Last Things
- Best New Director: Wen Muye, Dying to Survive
- Best New Performer: Si Pangoyod, Long Time No Sea
- Best Documentary: Our Youth in Taiwan
- Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Saburo Liu