Two Hong Kong Political Films Win at Taiwan Golden Horse Awards

At Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards on Saturday, two Hong Kong films received accolades as the island celebrated the biggest film festival since successfully suppressing the coronavirus.

While several film festivals were largely pushed online or canceled by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Golden Horse Awards, known as the "Oscars" in Chinese, went on in Taiwan, which saw just 611 illnesses and seven deaths, reports AFP.

Among the legions of entertainers who marched down the red carpet ahead of the ceremony in Taipei's Sun Yat-sen memorial hall, were US-based Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and Chinese American actress Bai Ling, clad in a red gown with a long train reading 'Heart Harmony.'

The Golden Horse nominees were led by Chinese cinematic artists, but the festival became a casualty of the worsening relations between Beijing and Taipei.

After a Taiwanese director called for the island's liberation during an award acceptance speech the year before, China boycotted the event last year.

Only two nominees from mainland China were included this year a documentary and an animation short film. All struggled to win a reward at all.

The wins by “Lost Course” on the southern Chinese village of Wukan that became a symbol of resistance against corruption in 2011 as well as “Night is Young” about a taxi driver’s experiences during last year’s pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are likely to rile Beijing.

“Being recognised by the Golden Horse really means a lot for a new director … I also want to thank the villagers for accepting me so I was privileged to shoot and document them at close distance,” Hong Konger Jill Li told the audience as she received her best documentary award.

Hong Kong director Kwok Zune did not collect his best short film statuette in person but in an acceptance speech read out by a representative, he declared “May freedom belong to the people. Night is young, we keep on fighting. Save 12,” referring to 12 Hong Kong democracy activists being detained in China.

Months of huge and often violent demonstrations last year against Beijing's tightening grip, which has since placed a sweeping national security law on the city, have shaken Hong Kong.

The romantic comedy "My Missing Valentine," which led the competition with 11 nominations, by Taiwanese director Chen Yu-hsun, was the biggest winner of the night taking five gongs, including best film and best director.

Taiwan’s 81-year-old Chen Shu-fang, who has been in the industry for 63 years, claimed both best leading actress (“Little Big Women”) and best supporting actress (“Dear Tenant”).

The best actor category was the most diverse, with Taiwan’s Mo Tzu-yi defeating rivals including Singapore’s Mark Lee (“Number 1”) and Hong Kong’s Lam Ka-tung (“Hand Rolled Cigarette”) for playing a gay man suspected of murdering his deceased lover’s mother.

List of winners in key categories:

Best Feature Film: “My Missing Valentine”

Best Director: Chen Yu-hsun, “My Missing Valentine”

Best Leading Actor: Mo Tzu-yi, “Dear Tenant”

Best Leading Actress: Chen Shu-fang, “Little Big Women”

Best Documentary: “Lost Course”

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