Movie stars gathered yesterday in Taipei for the Oscars of Chinese-language cinema with Myanmar-Taiwanese director Midi Z hoping for top honours at the Golden Horse awards with his immigrant drama.
French actress Juliette Binoche, Taiwanese starlet Shu Qi and South Korean heartthrob Song Seung-heon were among the big names set to grace the red carpet ahead of the evening awards ceremony.
Midi Z’s The Road to Mandalay, a tragic love story about two illegal Myanmar immigrants struggling to survive in Thailand, is the only film this year with nods in all top categories – best picture, best director, best actor and actress.
Taiwanese actor Kai Ko made a comeback to the silver screen with the movie after a massive career blow in 2014, when he was detained in Beijing on drug use with Jaycee Chan, son of Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan.
The 25-year-old is up against some of Hong Kong cinema’s biggest names – Tony Leung Kai-fai (Cold War 2), Jacky Cheung (Heaven in the Dark) and Michael Hui (Godspeed) for best actor.
The Road to Mandalay female lead Wu Ke-xi is competing with China’s veteran Fan Bingbing as well as newcomers Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun, both nominated for their roles in Hong Kong director Derek Tsang’s Soul Mate for playing two close friends who fall for the same man.
Zhou and Ma both won the “Best Leading Actress” award.
Fan, known to overseas audiences for her appearance in X-Men: Days of Future Past, played a peasant woman suing her swindler ex-husband in Chinese director’s Feng Xiaogang’s I Am Not Madame Bovary, which is also up for best picture and best director.
The film scooped the best picture prize at Spain’s San Sebastian film festival in September, with Fan winning the best actress gong.
Critics predict a tight race between The Road to Mandalay and Godspeed for the coveted best picture and best directing awards.
Taiwanese director Chung Mong-hong’s black comedy Godspeed, about a taxi driver from Hong Kong who becomes caught up in a drug delivery, has eight award nods.
Hong Kong’s Johnnie To, a three-time Golden Horse best director winner, is nominated for the eighth time for his police drama Three.
Other best picture nominees are Chinese director Zhang Dalei’s family drama The Summer Is Gone and crime film Trivisa by Hong Kong directors Frank Hui, Jevons Au and Vicky Wong.
Nearly 50 films are nominated for the 53rd edition of the Golden Horse Film Awards, held in Taipei’s Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Although the Golden Horse is styled on the US Academy Awards, the winners are decided by a jury, along the lines of the Cannes film festival.
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