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Entries in Golden Horse Awards (11)

Wednesday
Feb182015

Best Live Action Short: Sally Hawkins Takes the Lead

Glenn here again, and as if yesterday’s look at the Best Documentary Short category didn’t prove it, there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when predicting the short categories. In live action short especially they go with serious issues, except when they don’t. They frequently go foreign, except when they don't. They're not overly thrilled with big stars or Hollywood directors, except when they are. It’s all a bit of a gamble, really. This year’s contenders, however, seem a little easier to decipher in terms of what has the potential to win and what hasn’t a hope in hell. Sorry, Butter Lamp, but I think that means you. You will always be my winner.

 

The Nominees:

Aya, dir. Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis (40mins)
Boogaloo and Graham, dir. Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney (14mins)
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak), dir. Hu Wei and Julien Féret (16mins)
Parvaneh, dir. Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger (24mins)
The Phone Call, dir. Mat Kirkby and James Lucas (21mins)

Right now it seems pretty hard to look past The Phone Call given it stars an Oscar nominee (Sally Hawkins) and an Oscar winner (Jim Broadbent) and is emotional in ways that many will find belies its 20-minute runtime. Despite the curio factor of both doc and live action short Oscars potentially both going to films about suicide prevention hotline operators, I still feel rather confident over that prediction. It's certainly feels like a more complete film than, say, Boogaloo and Graham, which has wisps of nostalgia floating through its brief runtime and its cute children with pet chickens, but feels relatively light-weight compared to the rest (it gets to The Troubles right in its final shot, which seems like a more logical place to begin, but maybe that's just me).

I was a fan of Parvaneh about an Afghani girl in Switzerland and her friendship with a partying street kid, which feels like the most likely usurper to the throne given the Academy has shown an affinity towards films that bridge between the races. Maybe my hatred of the Israeli nominee Aya is clouding my judgement on that one, but what I do know for certain is that the best of an okay bunch is the sublime Butter Lamp, set in Tibet and focusing on a nomadic photographer who arrives in a village and who, in vignette form, has to deal with locals for whom photography isn't that common. It's wonderfully observed and it's an amazing example of how a film can thrill with restraint. I audibly gasped in the final shot despite it being so very simple. If it pulls a highly unlikely win out of the hat then I will scream with joy, but I think it's impressive festival haul (plus win at the Golden Horse Awards) will have to suffice.

Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Parvaneh
Should Win: Butter Lamp

Sunday
Nov232014

Golden Horse Gets a "Blind Massage"

It's your annual report of the Oscars of the Chinese world, the 51st annual Golden Horse Awards. Unfortunately this year had little crossover in terms of what made it into US theaters. There's generally at least a few winners/nominees that opened in the US. This year only one as far as I can tell - the Oscar submission The Golden Era though the Gong Li vehicle Coming Home will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics supposedly at some point. 

It was a big night for Lou Ye's Blind Massage, a rough night for acclaimed festival hit Black Coal Thin Ice and just your regular Saturday night for Ann Hui who took home her third (third!) Best Director prize for the Oscar submission The Golden Era. It wasn't a good year for the internationally recognizable acting contenders:  Tang Wei (The Golden Era) and Gong Li (Coming Home) lost to the woman with the lowest profile and Chang Chen (Brotherhood of Blades) lost Best Actor. As far am I'm aware

Full list of winners is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct012014

The Golden Era at the Golden Horse Awards

You may recall that last year the Golden Horse celebrated its 50th year so it was a big big deal. All the stars of Chinese language cinema were out with all the living winners of the lead acting prizes prominently displayed on stage. Zhang Ziyi finally took home Best Actress for The Grand Master, a prize that had continually eluded her. This year, the 51st, is bound to be a let down in comparison but it's still worth noting since we like to see how the Oscar submissions from various Asian countries fare. So let's just hit that straightaway...

Tang Wei stars in The Golden Era, a 30s era biopic of an important Chinese writer

THE GOLDEN ERA (Ann Hui) - Hong Kong's Oscar submission
This historical bio of a famous female writer finds Lust Caution's then-novice star Tang Wei headlining another acclaimed 3 hour period epic. It's nominated for 5 awards and they're all major ones: Feature, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay. No tech nominations though, which seems strange for a period epic. I'm still kicking myself for missing this one at TIFF but it's hard to fit the super-sized movies into those jampacked schedules.

ICE POISON (Midi Z) - Taiwan's Oscar submission
Our own Oscars don't ever have the "lone wolf" director anymore with the expanded Best Picture lineup and an increasing willingness to embrace chillier critical darlings anyway, but the Golden Horse got one this year. This Taiwanese drama about a poor young farmer and a woman escaping an arranged marriage who both  get mixed up in selling crystal meth is only nominated for Best Director.

MY BELOVED DEAREST (Sanif Olek) - Singapore's Oscar submission
Last year, Singapore was the surprise winner of the Best Feature Golden Horse (which tilts heavily China and Hong Kong) for their Oscar submission Ilo Ilo but this year their representing film either wasn't eligible or was not well loved by the Golden Horse jury. Zero nominations.

Black Coal Thin Ice led the nominations

We don't yet know what the mainland has chosen as their Oscar submission but the other films that were embraced by the Golden Horse Jury were: Black Coal, Thin Ice from China and winner of the Golden Bear early this year (Glenn reviewed) which led nominations with 8 including all the biggies - Feature, Director, Actress and Actor; Blind Massage from China, exactly what it's title implies, was not far behind with 7 nominations including Feature and Director; Kano from Taiwan, a true story baseball movie set in the 1930s won 6 nominations including Feature and Makeup & Costumes; Coming Home, the new Gong Li drama about a man returning from prison to his estranged wife, missed the key nod for Best Feature but won 5 other nominations including two for acting: Gong Li and a Newcomer nod for Zhang Huiwen who plays her daughter; Paradise in Service was also big in acting categories with three supporting nods but it missed Best Feature, too; A Fool about parents desperate to save their son convicted of a crime won five nominations including Feature.

Young Detective Dea: Rise of the Sea Dragon is available on Netflix Instant Watch!

And finally, just because it's fun to know these films -- and because yours truly kind of misses the days a decade ago when everyone was excited about wuxia movies - other films that did well, particularly in the tech awards included Brotherhood of Blades set in the Ming dynasty, The White Storm a drug underworld action film, No Man's Land about a lawyer's adventures in the Gobi desert and the biggie, a wuxia prequel with five tech nominations: Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon which is available on Netflix Instant Watch.

You can see a complete list of nominations here.

Extensive charts of this year's foreign language Oscar submissions (71 announced to date) are fully updated  here.

 

Saturday
Nov232013

Golden Horse Winners: Stray Dogs, The Grandmaster, Ilo Ilo

 I watched the show live. I didn't understand a word but awards shows are universal. Full list of winners and what it might mean for Oscar (multiple Oscar submissions competed here) after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov222013

Chang Chen Marries

Wedding bells. Congratulations to Chen Chang (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Grand Master) who married his girlfriend of 4 years Monday in Taipei.

She passed the bouquet to Chens second most famous onscreen romantic partner Qi Shu (Three Times). Awwww. The starstudded guest list was conveniently already in town since the 50th Annual Golden Horse Awards take place tomorrow. TFE Reader Tony is calling tomorrow's event "the red carpet to end all red carpets" as far as Chinese-language cinema goes. Over 40 past Best Actor and Best Actress winners are expected to attend.

Could you imagine how fun that would be at the Oscars? I would say we'll have to wait until Oscar's 100th anniversary (February 2028!) but since they care so little about their own history these days that's unlikely.

[Left: with Crouching Tiger lover Zhang Ziyi promoting The Grandmaster]

Who will win the Golden Horses tomorrow? 
Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster (an Oscar submission) is the nomination leader but Chen who has never won the Golden Horse is not one of them. His co-stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Zhang Ziyi are nominated, though. The Grandmaster will have to fight off significant threats to win though. The lineup is a strong one including critical hits Stray Dogs and A Touch of Sin, Johnnie To's Drug War and Ilo Ilo (Singapore's Oscar submission).

Saturday
Oct122013

Golden Horse Countdown

Here's Maggie Cheung's commercial (filmed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien) for the Golden Horse awards to be held on November 23rd in Taipei. I have it on good authority that she's saying...

 50 years Golden Horse, happy birthday

I wish I could speak Mandarin and Cantonese.
I also wish I could create sparkler-like effects by waving my arms around. 

Chinese speaking readers should also check out these promos. See, to celebrate their big 5-0 the Golden Horse Awards are interviewing past winners about their classic performances/films. And for those who missed the announcement the Best Picture nominees this year at the Golden Horse Awards are the following features:

Tony Leung, Maggie's #1 screen partner, in The GrandmasterDRUG WAR (Johnny To)
THE GRANDMASTER (Wong Kar Wai) Hong Kong's Oscar Submission, Dan's review which is likely the frontrunner given the huge amount of nominations (11) and the Maggie Cheung-adjacent legends involved
ILO ILO (Anthony Chen) Singapore's Oscar Submission Chen was not nominated for director, replaced by Mong-Hong Chung who directed Taiwan's Oscar submission Soul, but he's up for "New Director" instead
A TOUCH OF SIN (Jia Zhang-Ke) Glenn & Jose's review
STRAY DOGS (Tsai Ming Liang) Venice winner

What's the last Asian film you saw and are you rooting for any of the Asian entries to win a Best Foreign Film nomination in the Oscar race this year (a lot more on that category coming up soon)