China’s “Blind Massage” was the surprise winner at the 51st Golden Horse Awards, the Taiwan-based competition open to all Chinese-language films.

The Lou Ye-directed film won in six of the seven categories for which it was nominated, including the best feature prize.

It beat another mainland Chinese title “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which had been the favorite going in to the ceremony with 8 nominations, ahead of 7 for “Blind Massage,” and 6 for Taiwan’s “Kano.”

But “Black Coal” finished a miserable evening winning only for best art direction.

Broadcast of the ceremony was blocked in China because of the inclusion of “Kano,” a period film which casts a benign eye on the Japanese colonial period. Despite its multiple nominations the film came away with no prizes.

Awards were decided by a jury chaired by Joan Chen that also included Stanley Kwan, Aaron Kwok, Chen Po-Wen, Hwarng Wen-Ying and Stephen Fung.

Hong Kong-based Ann Hui was named as best director for her big-budget mainland Chinese biopic “The Golden Era”.

“Blind Massage” won best picture, best new performer (Zhang Lei), best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best sound effects and best editing.

Other highlights included a pair of wins for Taiwan’s “Paradise In Service,” which claimed the best supporting actor (Chen Jian-bin) and best supporting actress (Wan Qian) awards; and “A Fool,” for which Chen Jian-bin won the best actor and best new director awards.

“Black Coal” was earlier this week acquired for release in Taiwan, as one of the first beneficiaries of a new policy that allows mainland Chinese films that have won top prizes at major festivals to be exempted from Taiwan’s import quota. It is expected to be released in early 2015.

51st Golden Horse Awards winners 2014
Best Feature Film: “Blind Massage”
Best Director: Ann Hui “The Golden Era”
Best Actor: Chen Jianbin in “A Fool”
Best Actress: Chen Hsiang-chi in “Exit”
Best Supporting Actor: Chen Jianbin in “Paradise in Service”
Best Supporting Actress: Regina Wan in “Paradise in Service”
Best New Director: Chen Jianbin for “A Fool”
Best New Performer: Zhang Lei in “Blind Massage”
Best Original Screenplay: Yee Chih-yen for “Meeting Dr. Sun” 
Best Adapted Screenplay: Ma Yingli for “Blind Massage”
Best Cinematography: Zeng Jian for “Blind Massage”
Best Visual Effects: “The Midnight After” 
Best Art Direction: Liu Qiang for “Black Coal, Thin Ice”
Best Makeup & Costume Design: Liang Tingting  for “Brotherhood of Blades”
Best Action Choreography: Jack Wong  for “As the Light Goes Out” 
Best Original Film Score: Chen Qigang  for “Coming Home”
Best Original Film Song: “The Continent” 
Best Film Editing: Kong Jinlei, Jolin Zhu for “Blind Massage”
Best Sound Effects: Fu Kang for “Blind Massage”
Best Documentary: “Cotton” 
Best Short Film: “The Hammer and Sickle are Sleeping”