Taiwan cinema has plenty of reasons to celebrate this weekend as The Great Buddha+ (大佛普拉斯) and The Bold, The Corrupt, and the Beautiful (血觀音) took home the top awards at the 54th Golden Horse Awards.
Huang Hsin-yao’s dark comedy, about two people who saw more than they bargained for when they started looking at a rich man’s dashboard camera footage, had been the early favorite with ten nominations. In the end, the film won Best Original Film Score, Best Original Song, Best New Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography (by producer Chung Mong-hong).
Despite certain American trade press insisting that The Great Buddha+ was shot on an iPhone, director Huang Hsin-yao had clarified with local press that the film was definitely not shot on an iPhone.
Just as most expected that The Great Buddha+ would also take the night’s top award, Yang Ya-che’s The Bold, The Corrupt and the Beautiful was announced as the Best Film by jury president Wu Nien-jen. The corruption drama, about an antique dealer who uses her daughters to help her in her shady dealings, also won the Best Supporting Actress award for 14-year-old Vicky Chen and the first ever Golden Horse Best Actress award for Kara Hui.
Taiwanese films in total earned 12 prizes tonight, beating out the ten prizes for mainland Chinese films. Zhang Jiajia and Wong Kar-wai’s See You Tomorrow (擺渡人) was the top prize winner on the China side, winning Best Art Direction, Best Makeup and Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects.
(However, it’s worth noting that the firm that won for See You Tomorrow is the first Taiwan firm to win the Best Visual Effects award at the Golden Horse)
Vivian Qu picked up the Best Director award for Angels Wear White (嘉年華), which means that the searing drama can now bypass the annual ten-film quota for mainland Chinese films and receive a Taiwan theatrical release. Zhou Ziyang’s Old Beast (老獸), meanwhile, received Best Actor for Tu Men and Best Original Screenplay.
On the technical side, Tu Duu-chih tied William Chang’s record for the most Golden Horse win with a 12th Best Sound Effects win for Mon Mon Mon Monsters (報告老師！怪怪怪怪物！). However, Chang then reset the record to 13 with his Art Direction win for See You Tomorrow.
The ceremony, held in Taipei’s Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, was a well-organized affair with just the suitable amount of flair and star power. Chen Yu-hsun and Lin Mei-hsiu provided the best comic relief while Ang Lee and Jessica Chastain got a huge cheer when Lee encouraged Chastain to bring Hollywood to Taiwan.
(Local media also reports that Lee has agreed to take over as the chairman of the Golden Horse Film Festival next year as Sylvia Chang finishes her four-year term.)
In the end, nothing excited the local audience more than Bamboo Chen speaking Taiwanese while accepting his Best Supporting Actor award in Alifu: The Prince/ss (阿莉芙), the sight of Lee Xiang-sheng winning two awards and Yang Ya-che pulling out a social activist banner during his Best Film speech. It was a celebration of Taiwan cinema, and it was one that the industry has rightfully earned this year.
54th Golden Horse Awards winners list
The Bold, The Corrupt and The Beautiful
Vivian Qu – Angels Wear White
Tu Men – Old Beast
Kara Hui – The Bold, The Corrupt and the Beautiful
Best Animated Feature
Have a Nice Day (大世界)
Best Supporting Actor
Bamboo Chen – Alifu, The Prince/ss
Best Supporting Actress
Vicky Chen – The Bold, The Corrupt and the Beautiful
Best New Director
Huang Hsin-yao – The Great Buddha
Best New Performer
Rima Zeidan – Missing Johnny (強尼·凱克)
Best Original Screenplay
Zhou Ziyang – Old Beast
Best Adapted Screenplay
Huang Hsin-yao – The Great Buddha
Nagao Nakashima (Chung Mong-hong) – The Great Buddha+
Best Visual Effects
Johnny Lin, Perry Kain, Thomas Reppen – See You Tomorrow
Best Art Direction
Alfred Yau – See You Tomorrow
Best Makeup & Costume Design
William Chang, Cheung Sir-Hong – See You Tomorrow
Best Action Choreography
Sang Lin – Brotherhood of Blades 2 (綉春刀 II 修羅戰場)
Best Original Film Score
Lin Sheng-xiang – The Great Buddha+
Best Original Film Song
To Have, or Not to Have – The Great Buddha+
Best Film Editing
Jean Tsien, Bob Lee – Plastic China
Best Sound Effects
Tu Duu-chih, Wu Shu-yao, Tu Chun-tang – Mon Mon Mon Monsters