TAIPEI — “After This Our Exile” ended helmer Patrick Tam’s 17-year hiatus from the director’s chair in style with wins for picture, actor (Aaron Kwok) and supporting actor (9-year-old Gow Ian Iskander) at Saturday’s 43rd Golden Horse Awards for ethnic Chinese productions.
Pic also confirms star Kwok’s transformation from singing idol to thesp. Kwok took home last year’s Golden Horse for actor as well.
Thirteen-member jury headed by Taiwan film academic Chang Chang-yan offered an eclectic choice of winners. Unlike in past years, Taiwan pics held up well against their Hong Kong competition.
Entering the night with a leading 12 noms, Hong Kong helmer Peter Chan’s “Perhaps Love” bagged trophies for director, actress (Zhou Xun), cinematography and original song.
Relative newcomer Nikki Shie beat established star Zhao Wei and vet Amy Chum to take supporting actress for Taiwan lesbian drama “Reflections.”
Evening’s most sentimental moment came when octogenarian Chen Zi-fu picked up a special award for the lost art of movie poster painting. As recently as five years ago, many Taiwan theaters still used hand-painted posters rather than slick one-sheets to advertise screenings.
“Do Over” and sound mixer Guo Li-chi picked up, respectively, the newly named Formosa Film Award for Taiwan pic and the Formosa Filmmaker Award for home talent.
These two nods, previously tagged with the more innocuous “Taiwan” rather than the provocative “Formosa,” were in years past not part of the competition proper.
Further emphasizing the local bent of the awards ceremony, a long interlude devoted to a history of Taiwanese-language cinema introduced these three awards reserved for Taiwan industryites.
Perhaps in protest of the additions to the evening’s program, mainland Chinese authorities withdrew helmer Tian Zhuangzhuang’s “The Go Master” from consideration a week before the kudofest.
“The Go Master” had earned four noms and star Chang Chen was considered a strong contender for the actor gong.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and bristles at any attempt by the island to distinguish itself from the mainland.
Politics also motivated Taiwan helmer Tsai Ming-liang, known for his confrontational attitude toward local film authorities, to withdraw “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone.” Pic earned just two noms, for supporting actress and sound, which Tsai viewed as a snub.
Overall, however, the night was unmarred by backstage controversies as it celebrated Chinese-language filmmaking and the success of ethnic Chinese filmmakers.
Elder statesmen Ang Lee and John Woo were both in attendance and were singled out as success stories. Woo presented the trophy for picture a day after he bestowed picture honors at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Taipei.
“After This Our Exile”
Peter Chan — “Perhaps Love”
Aaron Zwok — “After This Our Exile”
Zhou Xun — “Perhaps Love”
Gow Ian Iskander — “After This Our Exile”
Nikki Shie — “Reflections”
Bryant Chang — “Eternal Summer”
Ning Hao — “Crazy Stone”
Ning Dai, Zhang Yuan — “Little Red Flowers”
Peter Pau — “Perhaps Love”
Chen Po-Wen, Liu Chun-Hsiu — “Do Over”
Tu Du-Chih, Guo Li-Chi, Ke Yi-Jun — “Amour-Legende”
Tim Yip — “The Banquet”
MAKEUP AND COSTUME DESIGN
Tim Yip — “The Banquet”
Ling Chun-Pong, Wong Chi-Wai — “Exiled”
Foo Sing-Choong — “Silk”
ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
Lim Giong — “Do Over”
ORIGINAL FILM SONG
Chris Shum, Leon Ko — “Perhaps Love”
“My Football Summer”
“The Secret in the Wind”
FORMOSA FILM AWARD
FORMOSA FILMMAKER AWARD
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD