Sunday, November 21, 2010

Golden Horse Awards: Ethan's Little Buddy, Nicholas Absent Shirt

The Golden Horse Awards were held last night. They're often thought of as the Chinese Oscars because the tradition goes back the furthest and honors a wide pool of Chinese language films from multiple countries (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, etcetera). Though neither Monga, Taiwan's submission for Oscar's Foreign Language Film competition, nor Aftershock (China's submission), were nominated for Best Picture they both had multiple nominations .

Monga, a popular youth crime drama we've mentioned before, won Best Actor for 28 year old Ethan Ruan (left), who amusingly brought a cardboard cutout of his  co-star who was not nominated. And yes he brought the cutout with him onstage when he won. He said...
Woo! Sorry, I brought my buddy along. [mimicing his co-star] 'Hi everyone. I'm Mark Chao' big laughs from the crowd.

Here's the Best Actor presentation. The clips begin at 2:25 after Li BingBing and Tony Leung Ka Fai (yes, the other Tony Leung) are done with their banter. Oh, awards-show banter... you are truly the universal language.

In case you're wondering about that gayish clip in the reel, that's the Cannes prize winner Spring Fever which is from China but was banned there so it's major release was in Taiwan. It won three awards. You can see the film instantly on Netflix.

But back to Monga... look how surprised Ethan is by his win! Sweet.

Leading Actor Nominees from left to right: Ni Dahong (Judge), Hao Qin
(Spring Fever), Xueqi Wang (Bodyguards and Assassins) and Ethan Ruan.

In his acceptance speech he says that he joined the business with the hopes that he'd win this prize in 20 years time. He didn't have to wait that long. His movie career has barely begun.

Complete list of 2010 Golden Horse Winners

<--- PICTURE When Love Comes 
[Please note: When Love Comes, which had 13 nominations (!) was released after the Oscar submission deadline for Best Foreign Film. It's possible we'll see When Love Comes as Taiwan's Oscar submission in 2011.]
DIRECTOR Chung Mong-Hong, The Fourth Portrait 
[Please note: I'm not sure why Taiwan gets extra special treatment but they really cleaned up in the awards since When Love Comes, The Fourth Portrait and Monga are all from Taiwan.]
NEW DIRECTOR Ho Wi Ding, Pinoy Sunday 
ACTOR Ethan Ruan, Monga 
ACTRESS Lu Li-Ping, City Monkey 
SUPPORTING ACTOR Pen-Fon Wu, Seven Days in Heaven
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Lei Hao, The Fourth Portrait 
SCREENPLAY Liu Jie & Gao Shan, Judge 
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Essay Liu, Seven Days in Heaven
ART DIRECTION Peng Weimin, When Love Comes
CINEMATOGRAPHY Chang Chan, When Love Comes
EDITING Robin Weng, Jian Zeng, Florence Bresson, Spring Fever
MAKE-UP & COSTUME DESIGN Dora Ng, Bodyguards and Assassins
[Note: How strange is it that these categories are combined?]
VISUAL EFFECTS Yong-Gi Lee, Xiang Yu Nan, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
[Note: As an outsider I'm kind of surprised that the Chinese Oscar submission Aftershock did not win this battle since it's such a mammoth hit overseas.]
FILM SCORE Peyman Yazdanian, Spring Fever
ORIGINAL SONG Summer Lei "Taipei Exhcanges," from Taipei Exchanges
SOUND EFFECTS Duu Chih Tu, Monga
NEW PERFORMER Chien Na-Lee, Juliets
SHORT FILM Magabahai 

Red Carpet Lineup
Some memorable outfits. You have to go there if you're talking awards shows. It's the law.

To your left is 30 year old star actor Nicholas Tse (nominated for supporting actor for Gods and Assassins) who came to the awards show without a shirt underneath his suit. To your right are the evening's hosts, who know from fashion statements, and didn't let the audience forget he wasn't wearing one.

Left: Lu Li-Ping (City Monkey) who won Best Actress. Apparently the local fashion police were not pleased with her outfit, comparing it unfavorably to seafood (?). I guess I can see the undulating clam motif?; Right: Jingchu Zhang who was nominated for the disaster drama Aftershock.

From left to right:  acclaimed actress Kara Hui (a winner last year at multiple ceremonies for At the End of Daybreak); Sandee Chan (those half gloves always remind me of Lady Gaga now) is a musician and performer who was nominated for composing the score for Monga. TFE reader Tony (who helped me immensely with this posts - thanks!) tells me her score is brilliant; and Chiling Lin who some people called "Best Dressed" for the evening (she's wearingValentino). If she looks familiar to you that's because she was recently the plot-turning obsessively tea-making wife of Tony Leung Chiu Wai in last year's lengthy action epic Red Cliff.

That's all for now. Even if you don't know the films do you like the awards show reportage from far away lands? If you speak Chinese and are more familiar, do you think the deserving players won?


Powerandcrinolines said...

Aren't the Golden Horse awards traditionally a Taiwanese-focused award show? Kind of like how the Golden Rooster tends to lean toward the mainlaind PRC film industry even though it's technically open to all chinese-language films and um...can't remember what the HK one is called. It's simplistic reasoning, I know, but maybe it partially explains why when an exceptional Taiwanese film pops up, the awards body is quicker to recognise it?

And ooh, I always appreciate your coverage of all these non-US centric film awards. And is Barbie Hsu one of the hosts?


X -- i think they are, yes. But for whatever reason they're more inclusive than the other chinese language asian prizes (HK FILM AWARD and the golden rooster -- which go by nationality, yes?)

plus the golden horse stretches back the furthest.


oh and the hosts were Kevin Tsai and Dee Hsu L ? don't know if she goes by Barbie.

i do get confused by the names which seem to continually change both spelling and name order depending on which site is writing about the movies.

Powerandcrinolines said...

Thanks for looking up the host for me! Apparently Dee Hsu is Barbie's sister which explains my obvious mistake. I'm far too ignorant of the chinese-language entertainment industry, considering I'm chinese.

Anyway, according to wiki, the Golden Rooster opened up to HK and Taiwan films in 2005, but yeah, its stabs at inclusiveness probably don't yet rival the Golden Horse's. I just feel like given the Golden Horse's taiwanese ties and the location of its ceremony, when faced between choosing a good PRC/HK/other movie or a taiwanese one they - ie. amorphous awards deciders/jury - would choose the Taiwanese one? But I don't really know how awards work, so...

And Nat, clearly the solution is for you to learn Chinese so that you can read the characters rather than rely on the different romanisation styles!

John said...

I am consistently (pleasantly) surprised by the attention you give to our film awards, Nat! I think yours is the only site I've read on the internet that gives consistent year-to-year coverage of the Golden Horse awards.

The GH is a juried award (which is why I'm always a bit leery of the comparison to the Oscars) so it's very volatile what they like from year to year--and I remember once a few years ago they were heavily criticized for not awarding a single Taiwanese film in the major categories. Plus the big media narrative these past few years has been about the Taiwanese film industry being resurgent, so I guess they're just going with the zeitgeist here.

Aftershock was a commercial disappointment here in Taiwan, so I'm not too surprised that it lost. Big-budget mainland productions just don't do very well here.

Marshall1 said...

Ni Nat,

Did you see the End of the Daybreak? Kara Hui swept all the important awards, but I always thought of her role as a supporting actress. This will be the big example of category
Also, the cool thing is she won the first HKfilm awards best actress, so it has come full cycle for her. She's mainly a tv actress now, providing great support for terrible young actors lol

Tony said...

The categories of Best Taiwanese Film and Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year weren't created until 2002. The reason for their creation was that for YEARS, movies from HK or elsewhere absolutely dominated the Golden Horse, while Taiwanese movies went home empty-handed at their home-based awards. (imagine British films winning top honors at the Oscars YEAR after YEAR after YEAR..) The outrage was huge, but they didn't want to exclude all those good movies from the competition altogether, so they added these two categories.

Seen from this perspective, it's not really special favors, but more like consolation prizes. ("ok, you're not as great as that other movie from HK, but you're the best from home!")

However, in the last few years the Taiwanese movie industry saw a new surge of creative talents and box office hits with quality on par with foreign competitors, thus the often double mentions in the general categories and these two reserved categories.

This could even create trouble for the jury, as this year the Best Picture winner, When Love Comes, a 100% pure-blood Taiwanese movie, did not win the Best Taiwanese Film as well. The jury had to give some elaborate explanations as to why they went for The Fourth Portrait in that particular category...


John -- thanks. I'd cover more than just the Golden Horse but it's hard to keep up with information (I should make a spreadsheet to remember WHEN each country's Oscars are held because the calendar is all over the place). Thankfully I guess i have enough Chinese speaking readers that keep me informed of the golden horse.

Other countries / languages are slacking in sending me info :)

Tony said...

Oh, and Ethan Ruan's Best Actor win is a first by a Taiwanese actor in that category in 11 years! (in the lead actor categories it's still very much dominated by HK or Chinese players...)

RJ said...

Love when you cover stuff like this. Real interesting.

joy said...

The voting process of the GH awards changes (slightly) every year.

This year they first gather up a jury of 9 people to watch all the submissions (around 130 films) and come up with the nominations. Then they bring in another jury of 8 people to watch all the nominees (around 30 films). Then they combine these two jury together to vote for the winner.

On the final voting day, everyone's cell phone will be taken away (until the end of the award ceremony) and everything they say during the 10 hours discussion will be recorded on tape.

This is in my opinions, the best group of winners the golden horse awards has offered in almost a decade.
My favorite film is the brilliant "The Forth Portrait" but "When Love Comes" is pretty deserving too.

Most people were surprised to see Lu Li-Ping won best actress over Xu Fan, who is fantastic and the saving grace of "Aftershock". But I though Li-Ping managed to be both heartbreaking and funny in "City Monkey", an otherwise poor film. Her only film available on Netfilx is "The Blue Kite", which won her the best actress award in Tokyo film festival.

Mirko said...

I love your articles on GOLDEN HORSES...I'm waiting the one for HONG KONG FILM AWARDS

I hope I could watch these movies soon, particularly MONGA

Chusang said...

People tend to consider Taiwan's Golden Horse as the 'Chinese Oscar', because they welcome wide-open submissions from all over the Asia, all the Chinese-languge-speaking films could submit for the awards, no matter which countries they come from.

Also, because they judge the film in a more artistic way, (in compare to HK Film Award/ Golden Roster/ Hundred Flowers), that's why you will see them honoring Art/low-budget/ independent films instead of blockbusters or epic.

That's why even though 'Bodyguards and Assassins' (a big hit from HK, HK Film Award Best Pic last year) or 'Aftershock' (also a big hit, epic, audience's favorite) lost the awards to smaller film like 'The Fourth Portrait' (Taiwan) and 'Spring Fever' (China).

Also, the choices are made by a group of film professionals, like Cannes film festival.

As for HK Film Awards, they also welcome films from Taiwan/ China (But, at least three main roles like Dir/Leading Actor/ Scriptwriter etc have to be from HK), but mainly, they are honoring HK locals.

HK Film Awards mostly honor Big Hits, Audience favorite instead of critics' choices, so we see 'Bodyguards and Assassins' won over 'KJ: Music and Life' (considers as the best docu in HK ever) and 'Ip Man' won over 'The Way We Are' (I consider it as the best HK film in the past 5 years).

Golden Roster/ Hundred Flowers Awards are limited for films from Mainland China.

Chusang said...

also, Ethan Ruan won over other nominees was really the biggest surprise at the night. Really!

Because when the nomination came out, people all considered at the least favorite to win (though he's a Taiwan superstar, and a lady-killer), media described his nomination is already his award.

Also, because people expected Wang Xue Qi 'Bodyguards and Assassins' to win. As he is a very experienced actor from China, people would call him 'Teacher', a master in acting. And he has provided a very moving father performance in the film. (He won the best supporting actor award last year for his master performance in 'Forever Enthralled' (maybe that's one of the reason he lost).

Qin Hao 'Spring Fever' was also considered as a potential winner. (gay character, Liu Ye's film, and he's from Mainland China)

Chusang said...

Supporting Actress was the least surprised in the acting category at that night.

Hao Lei won for her single-mother character in 'The Fourth Portrait'. She is a Chinese actress, but it's a Taiwan's film.

Hao Lei is the actress who played the main character'Yu Hung' in Liu Ye's 'Summer Palace'.

A very good stage/film actress in Mainland China. She deserves the award.

billybil said...

Thanks for this! I LOVE getting glimpses into other country's award shows. I think there's gonna be a HUGE competition in best actor in India this (next) year. Roshan for Guzaarish and Khan for My Name is Khan. Two incredibly powerhouse performances. I think this won't happen until next July but oh boy is that gonna be hot. (I think there's some "history" between these two going way back - by history I mean of the competitive kind, not the romantic kind (although are you familiar with Hrithik Roshan? Oh My GOD is he a doll!!!))

Mirko said...

Indian film awards will happen before July...and yes, the race between Hrithik and Shahrukh will be a tough one!


billybil -- am I familiar? Hrithik has his own label here )

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

I wonder if this awards show has English subtitles anywhere on the web? That would be fun.

I admit I didn't recognize (The Other) Tony Leung for a second or two. He's aged a bit since he, well, made me, um, er, agitated in The Lover. ;-)

billybil said...

I'm so blind. I should have realized. I'm going to have to be even more careful and read EVERY SINGLE WORD YOU EVER WRITE! Go see Guzaarish - it's sort of a mess as a movie but it's a very interesting vehicle of Mr. Roshan. Did you see MY NAME IS KHAN?

Mirko said...

in MY NAME IS KHAN the couple SHAHRUKH/KAJOL rocks...I hope she will win Best Actress at Filmfare, Starscreen and IIFA

what about beautiful Aishwarya in GUZAARISH? normally her JODI with Hrithik is one of the best of indian recent cinema...and maybe not just the recent...

billybil said...

Mirko - I couldn't believe it when I heard that Aishwarya started out as a beauty queen! Her presence on screen and her power is breathtaking - and she is GORGEOUS! I loved her in Guzaarish. And I do love Kajol. I would be perfectly happy if she won best actress but I see you're avoiding addressing the Shahrukh vs Hrithik competition. Uh oh. I do think Shahrukh was wonderful in KHAN but I feel like Hrithik went just a little further in Guzaarish. He's so raw and so caustic and also so warm. It's a really tough call, I think. From what I understand Shahrukh is the truly respected actor whereas Hrithik is seen more as a dancer/star. Do you think that would mean the awards would lean more toward Shahrukh?

Mirko said...

I avoided to express a prediction regarding Hrithik-Shahrukh race just because I haven't watched Guzaarish yet
Yes, SHAHRUKH is normally perceived as THE KING OF BOLLYWOOD, even if, actually, his historical rival, the ubergreat Aamir Khan outclassed him in the bollywood power list
Regarding Hrithik, in occasion of all his winning at Filmfare and other indian awards, Shahrukh was among the I think it's possible for Hrithik to win again, but it's difficult to understimate Sharukh's chances, since his perf in MY NAME IS KHAN was widely appreciated

besides, since 2002 the winning in the Best Actor Race (I'm considering the Filmfare Awards at the moment) have been a matter among Hrithik, Shahrukh and Amitabh Bachchan, I wonder if this year they could go with some "dark horses", just to change a little bit...we'll see...

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel -- While interviewing Ethan Ruan pre-his win, a stunning woman(a costar of his? girlfriend?)wearing an of white gown was asked a few questions as well. Who is she? She is the same one he gave an awkward hug to right before he got to the podium.

billybil said...

Thanks Mirko. Like I wrote, I think there are some problems with the movie but I think you might enjoy it anyway. Aishwarya is WONDERFUL in it. I very much appreciated Shahrukh's performance too - he is such a strong and appealing actor. I can certainly understand why he's considered the king. I sort of think of him as Bollywood's Tom Hanks. I'll have to watch more Bollywood films to apprecaite Aamir Kahn more but thanks so much for the insight. I tried to find a website for the Filmfare awards with all the winners from all the previous years but couldn't. I did find results from the last 2 years though - I thought Jodhaa Akbar was a tremendous film - it's where I was first exposed to Hrithik! Nate - if you haven't seen that one, see it! It's great.


anon -- that's his girlfriend.

Mirko said...

actually it's quite strange that FILMFARE AWARDS, one of the main Indian Movie Awards, has not a real site, considering also that it's related to a such influence movie magazine and the audiences could vote the nominees...

anyway if you're looking for some informations about it, wikipedia could be a real help


Mirko -- when does filmfare take place. i'd love to write that up each year because some of the clips i've seen have been awesome.

Mirko said...

the filmfare takes place in the same period of american awards, more or less

it's a problem to know the exact day so early, since they haven't an official site...but I will let you know something

yes, they have been awesome, expecially two years ago when they were co-hosted by the newcomers Imran Khan (Aamir's nephew) and Ranbir Kapoor

mikimauserwitz said...

ethan ruan has come a long way from music videos to idol dramas to films. it is not hard to see the potential in him even in tv dramas where he explored different range of characters like the charming whippersnapper in 'my queen' (a rom-com) to the awkward loner in 'wayward kenting' (drama). what can i say, i'm a fan!
nat r: from a chinese-speaking cinephile, always very very nice to read a coverage of a humble non-hollywood-centric film awards in non-asian-centric media :)

Ryan said...

awesome post Nathaniel. hell, i feel like i just watched the Golden Horse Awards live!

K.C.O said...

i think the reason that having the outstanding taiwanese film is all because the golden horse award was founded and held in taiwan, and after 90's the taiwanese film industry was decreasing like they established an award to maintain taiwan's position in the so-called chinese movie...
so it's kind of like the consolation prize for taiwanese movies...

but in the past 5 years, the winners of taiwanese outstanding film award are really goood movies!

at some level, they're better than the best picture award winners

it's my own opinion, because im taiwanes and i love taiwanese movies :D