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"Golden Horse" Nominees Include Two Oscar Hopefuls

China's Oscar submission this year, Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War (previously discussed) was not released in time to show up in the nominations for its own country's Oscar equivalent. Nevertheless two Asian submissions for this year's Best Foreign Film Oscar race are competing for the "Golden Horse". While there are multiple film awards which hail from Asia (it can be horribly confusing to follow) The Golden Horse is the oldest and most inclusive of the awards institutions as there are no nationality requirements, only that the film be predominantly in a Chinese language. As is our habit and general proclivity let's start with Best Picture and Best Actress, the two most important categories in any awards show.

Let the Bullets Fly, Piano in a Factory and A Simple Life (pictured) compete for "Best Feature Film" alongside "Return Ticket" and "Seediq Bale"

Best Picture

Let the Bullets Fly, set in the 20s, pits Chow Yun Fat (playing a local tyrant) against an intruding bandit chief for control of a provincial town. The Piano in a Factory is a dramedy about a child of divorce who lets it be known that she will live with whichever parent can provide her with a piano. Her money-strapped musician father concocts a plan to raise the money. I couldn't find much info on Return Ticket (damn those movie titles with utterly generic titles that lead you all the wrong places in google searches) The Oscar submissions are discussed on the Foreign Film Charts so chase those links above.

Best Actress 

Chen, Ip, Hailu and Shu Qi compete for Best Actress

  • Michelle Chen, You Are the Apple of My Eye
  • Deanie Ip, A Simple Life 
  • Qin Hailu, The Piano in the Factory
  • Shu Qi, A Beautiful Life

The Best Actress shortlist has a huge age range from 28 year old Chen (who looks even younger) to 63 year old frontrunner Deanie Ip who recently won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role as an aging nanny who needs the man she raised (Andy Lau) to care for her. The category is rounded out by superstar Shu Qi (sometimes credited as Qi Shu) who is familiar to international audiences from several films that have travelled the world (Millenium Mambo, Three Times, So Close, Transporter, etcetera). A Beautiful Life is described as a romantic tragicomedy in that it begins as a romcom only to veer towards disability drama as the beautiful gold-digging Shu Qi meets and mistreats a man who really loves her before he receives a terrible diagnosis.

Complete nominee list and controversial Oscar submission after the jump...

Best Director

  • Wei Te-sheng, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Jiang Wen, Let the Bullets Fly
  • Ann Hui, A Simple Life
  • Zhang Meng, The Piano in a Factory

 Best New Director

  • Wuershan, The Butcher The Chef and the Swordsman
  • Giddens, You are the Apple of My Eye
  • Xu Haofeng, The Sword Identity
  • Du Jia-Yi, Kora

Best Actor

  • Eddie Peng, Jump Ashin!
  • Ge You, Let the Bullets Fly
  • Andy Lau, A Simple Life
  • Wang Qian-Yuan, The Piano in the Factory

Jump Ashin!'s marketing was largely built around the physique that its star Eddie Peng built for his title role as the gymnast "Ashin". The 29 year old Taiwanese actor actually grew up in Canada. He may have tough competition here though, particularly from Andy Lau's starpower in a film that is definitely in the Best Picture running. Update: a Taiwanese reader, who helped with this post -thanks! - thinks it's You Ge's to lose. Some of you may remember him from those Gong Li pictures Farewell My Concubine or To Live in the '90s.

 Best Supporting Actor

  • Lawrence Ko, Jump Ashin!
  • Lau Wing, Revenge a Love Story
  • Bokeh Kosang, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Jimmy Wang You, Wu Xia

 Best New Performer

  • Chen-Tung Ko, You are the Apple of My Eye
  • Lin Ching-Tai, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Bokeh Kosang, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Lin Yuan-Jie, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Horse allow double dipping for the same role since Bokeh Kosang (sometimes spelled Bowkeh Kowsang... and many other spellings pop up, too) is nominated for Supporting Actor and "New Performer". I believe that Seediq Bale is his first film but I could be wrong. IMDb can't always be trusted on foreign performers since they're not always completist with world cinema.

Best Supporting Actress

Kara Hui and Liu Yifei in Chinese Ghost Story (2011) which is also up for best visual effects

  • Kara Hui, A Chinese Ghost Story
  • Jiang Wenli, Love for Life
  • Carina Lau, Let the Bullets Fly
  • Tang Qun, Return Ticket

Best Original Screenplay

  • Jump Ashin!
  • A Simple Life
  • Return Ticket
  • The Piano in a Factory

 Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Butcher, The Theif and the Swordsman
  • Let the Bullets Fly
  • The Sword Identity
  • Kora

Best Cinematography

  • Yao Hung, Hometown Boy
  • Chin Ting-Chang, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Zhao Fei, Let the Bullets Fly
  • Shu Chou, The Piano in a Factory

 Zhao Fei's work is familiar to us here in the west, too. He lensed the international arthouse hit Raise the Red Lantern and served a three year stint as Woody Allen's DP (Sweet and Lowdown, Small Time Crooks and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Best Visual Effects

  • A Chinese Ghost Story
  • Let the Bullets Fly
  • The Sorcerer and the White Snake
  • Wu Xia

Best Art Direction

  • Hao Yi, The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman
  • Silver Cheung, Bruce Lee My Brother
  • Taneda Yohei, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Yee Chung Man, Wu Xia

Best Makeup & Costume Design

  • Haoy Yi, The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman
  • Mutiple People, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • William Chang, Let the Bullets Fly
  • Dora Ng, Wu Xia

Best Action Choreography 

  • Chin Ka Lok, Bruce Lee My Brother
  • Shim Jae Won and Yang Kil Yong, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Dion Lam, Overheard 2
  • Donnie Yen, Wu Xia

Best Original Score

  • Baby-C & Kay Huang, The Long Goodbye
  • Owen Wang, Jump Ashin!
  • Ricky Ho, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Oh Young-mook, The Piano in a Factory

Best Original Film Song 

  • A Ba (performed by Jay Chou and Hung Jung-hung) from Abba
  • 完美落地 (performed by Luantan-Ascent) from Jump Ashin!
  • Na Xie Nian (performed by Hu Xia) from You Are the Apple of My Eye
  • We See the Rainbow (performed by 演員合唱 ) from Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

OSCAR-CENTRIC ASIDE: Warriors the Rainbow: Seediq Bale is doing huge box office in Taiwan and won the most nominations at the Golden Horse Awards. It has sold distribution rights in multiple other countries (US still under negotiation apparently). Here's an interesting report (subtitled) on various controversies surrounding it.


Best Film Editing

  • Hsiao-tung Chen, The Man behind the Book
  • Shirley Yip and Azrael Chung, Bruce Lee my Brother
  • Kong Chi Leung and Manda Wai, A Simple Life
  • Curran Pang, Overheard 2

Best Sound Effects

  • Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
  • Let the Bullets Fly
  • Overheard 2
  • Wu Xia

Best Documentary 

  • The Man Behind the Book
  • Hometown Boy
  • Young at Heart: Grandma Cheerleaders

Best Short Film

  • Thief (Jay Chen)
  • The Outsider (Youth Film Studio)
  • Meeting of the Half Moons (Hong Kong Arts Development Council)
  • Horse With No Name (Chen Nien Ko)

Animated Feature

  • [NONE... maybe the Oscars should follow suit this year ;) ]

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Ting Shan-Si 

Shan-hsi Ting was a Taiwanese writer director of more than 50 films who died in 2009.

Finally... Here's the poster for the Golden Horse Film Festival (next month) starring last year's Best Actor winner Ethan Ruan (Monga)


The official explanation of this poster goes like so.

The official poster for 2011 Golden Horse Film Festival was masterminded by famed designer Lin Xiao-Yi. Building on the advertisement directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Lin developed a three-dimensional space constructed with night, dream, and light. "Night" stands for the darkness enveloping the audience inside the movie theater. "Dream" signifies the process of dreammaking in each filmmaking experience. As for "light," it is the ray of light that breaks through the darkness and the particles of light that linger in the air as the movie projector starts rolling, which constitutes our first and foremost visual memory of movies. Through these interlinked connections is brought out the image of the glance that compresses the history of one hundred years.

Night, Dream and Light... to describe the beauty of moviegoing?
I love it, don't you?








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Reader Comments (9)

I'm unable to play that video for some reason. What's the controversy around Warriors of the Rainbow exactly?

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergoran

it's about the difference in reception between Taiwan and China... and that Taiwan was pissed that it was regarded as a China production in Venice. It also purports that reaction to the film are falling along partisan lines because of its touchy topic, the Seediq people (indigenous) who were mistreated and denied the right to practice their own beliefs during Japanese rules.

October 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Correction: "Warriors the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" is doing huge box office in Taiwan, but it wont be released in China before going through some "censorship test"...

I think Wang Qian-Yuan still has a shot to win and should win.

Some facts: Other than Michelle Chen, every best actress nominee already has two Golden Horse. This is Deanie Ip's 5th nom and Shu Qi's 6th nom (her least deserving one).

Deanie is the 6th actress to be nominated by Golden Horse for a Ann Hui's film, four have won before and this is hers to lose.

Two of the supporting actress nominees has two famous husband: Carina Lau (her 3rd nom and most absurd lol) and Jiang Wenli (She plays Leslie Cheung's mom in the opening of "Farewell My Concubine", which was shot by her husband Gu Changwei).

Qin Hailu is the first and only actor to ever won both Best New Performer and Best Actress in one year for her first film "Durian Durian", arguably the best debut performance by a chinese actor before Tang Wei's "Lust, Caution".

She also just became the first actor starring in three of the five best film nominees: "The Piano in A Factory", "A Simple Life" and "Return Ticket". Her lead performance in the latter (which she shares the original screenplay nom with four other writers) was under serious consideration for best actress but was dropped because they don't allow double nominations in one acting category.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

Random factoids/info/thoughts about these movies...

"Return Ticket"--a woman whose business and marriage failed, decided to move to Shanghai for work. On the train from Taiwan to Shanghai, she met other women who are moving up north to work -- some to support the family, some escaping their family.
(This is what I got from one Taiwanese website...by the way, google translate is horrendous.)

"A Beautiful Life" co-stars multiple Olympic gold medalist (diving) Tian Liang and is directed by Andrew Lau, director of Infernal Affairs.

I can't blame them for focusing on Eddie Peng's body. Almost saw that movie just because of that. Also, I agree with the reader. Andy Lau won recently (04 for the third Infernal Affairs) and You Ge has yet to win or nominated, though probably because he does more work for the mainland and Golden Horse focus more on Taiwan/Hong Kong.

I am surprised "You are the Apple of My Eye" didn't do better. Not even a screenplay nomination. It is much talked about and is highly popular and acclaimed in the Chinese speaking communities. I guess its box office (2nd highest of the year, behind Transformers 3, in Taiwan) is rewards enough.

I wish "Overhead 2" has done better. Action choreography is kind of random (i guess stunt work is part of it here, because it is mostly that and not martial artsy). I would give it a supporting actor nod over Wu Xia at least.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkin

Oh and thanks as always for your coverage of Chinese films!

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkin

Saw "A Simple LIfe" yesterday and I was deeply touched by it. It's amazing that Ann Hui's attention to details really makes the film comes alive. I think Deanie Yip's Best Actress in Venice is no fluke and I think she's 99% going to win the HK Academy Awards. Andy Lau's work is deceptively simple. He does not have any showy scenes and people can accuse him of just being Andy Lau. However, I think this is one of his best works. I'm surprised this movie didn't yield any nominations in the supporting category. I think 江美儀, Elena Kong, the (as the daughter of one of the old people) could easily replace Kara Hui's nom. Also, 秦沛 (who also has a very cute and talented son), Paul Chun as the charming and lively old guy who's always borrowing money. Yes, the movie does not break new ground, as your Greek correspondence in the Venice Festival can testified, but I think as someone who grew up with a Chinese background, I think this is a well-told story that speaks to me.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarshall1

It just seems to me that Deanie Ip has gotten the best actress win in her bag. Golden Horse often favours a veteran actress's returning performance if it earned an nomination. She's a very well liked actress and this is her first big screen work after 10 years. I also found that Golden Horse often favours movies and performances that have won awards, or even just have nominations on a international scale. Her Venice win is screaming 'victory' for her Golden Horse nomination.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMingy

When should we expect to hear more about what films foreign countries entered for the Oscars? I thought the deadline had passed on Friday but I have not seen any new information since then.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Love love Carina Lau's performance int Let the Bullets Fly and she is an overdue actress. Hope she will winO(∩_∩)O~

October 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersolomon
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