Two films particularly dominated the 48th Golden Horse Awards held on the weekend: Taiwan war epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale won five awards including best film, and touching drama A Simple Life won best director and the two key actor categories.
Regarded as the Chinese-language Oscars, the awards were held on Saturday evening in Hsinchu City in the north of Taiwan and were evenly divided between Taiwanese, Hong Kong and mainland Chinese films and filmmakers.
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (pictured), directed by Wei Te-Sheng, is loosely based on the real-life Wushe Uprising in which the indigenous Seediq people of Taiwan rose up against oppressive Japanese occupiers in October 1930.
Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo, Terence Chang and Jimmy Hunag were the producers on the ambitious $25 million film, one of the most expensive ever made in Taiwan. The film is in two parts and has a total running time of about four-and-a-half hours. It was the most popular local film ever on the day it opened in cinemas in Taiwan and, now well into its season, one of the highest-grossing.
Warriors was the most popular with audiences of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, which ran throughout November in the lead up to the awards. Another of its awards went to actor Boken Kosang in the supporting category. He portrayed a Seediq man within the Japanese forces, struggling to cope with his conflicted loyalties.
Hong Kong drama A Simple Life is about the relationship between a man and the domestic helper who looked after him as a child and was inspired by producer Roger Lee's own life.
Veteran director Ann Hui cast Andy Lau and Deanie Ip as her leads and all three of them went home with a Golden Horses as a result of their collaboration. One of the most moving moments of the ceremony came when Lau, who presented the best actress award, knelt before his “mother”. The pair have worked together many times and Ip won the equivalent award at the Venice International Film Festival in September.
The hugely popular Lau said he hoped that Hong Kong would be able to rise above what is currently a gloomy period for local filmmaking, just as Taiwan appears to be doing now. Lau's other 2003 Golden Horse was for his performance in the crime thriller Infernal Affairs III.
The festival's two international awards went to Zhang Meng's The Piano in the Factory from China and Dain Said's Bunohan from Malaysia.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Best Feature: Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Best Director: Ann Hui, A Simple Life
Best Leading Actor: Andy Lau, A Simple Life
Best Leading Actress: Deanie Ip, A Simple Life
Best Supporting Actor: Boken Kosang, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Best Supporting Actress: Tang Qun, Return Ticket
Best New Performer: Chen-tung Ko, You are the Apple of My Eye
Best Original Screenplay: Yang Nan-Chian, Teng Yung Shing, Qin Hai Lu, Ge Wen-Zhe, Xi Ran, Return Ticket
Best Adapted Screenplay: Zhu Sujin, Shu Ping, Jiang Wen, Guo Junli, Wei Xiao, Li Bukong, Let the Bullets Fly
Best New Director: Wuershan, The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman
Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Wong Wei-liu
Best Cinematography: Zhao Fei, Let the Bullets Fly
Best Visual Effects: Yung Kwok Yin, Andy Kang, Wu Xia
Best Art Direction: Yee Chung-man, Wu Xia
Best Makeup & Costume Design: Hao Yi, The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman
Best Action Choreography: Donnie Yen, Wu Xia
Best Original Film Score: Ricky Ho, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Best Original Film Song: Jump! Ashin
Best Film Editing: Hsiao-Tung Chen, The Man Behind the Book
Best Sound Effects: Tu Duu-Chih, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Best Short: Thief
Best Documentary: Hometown Boy
Audience Choice Award: Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
FIPRESCI Award: The Piano in a Factory from Zhang Meng (Mainland China)
NETPAC Award: Bunohan from Dain Said (Malaysia)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ting Shan-His