(Dateline Taipei part 3)
It was my first Golden Horse Awards ceremony live experience and while I’m thankful for the privilege of being in the seated audience, I would still have preferred to be out there on the red carpet shooting pictures.
I had my DSLR camera with me but it was all for nothing since they were pretty strict with taking photos inside the Hsinchu Performing Arts Center, not even smartphones, so how much more my mammoth of a camera.
So all I got was this shot when we arrived:
There was a decent crowd that turned up on the road leading to the venue and an even bigger crowd at the red carpet. I would have wanted to squeeze in there but the crowd was thick and we had to go find our seats.
There was a live feed of the red carpet inside the venue and while we were hanging out in the lobby, I saw Vivian Hsu walk in. The Western journalists I was with actually liked her episode in Juliets and they were happy enough to have seen her in person.
Among the early-comers inside the auditorium was Ethan, who is this year’s festival ambassador and last year’s best actor. He walked around talking with the staff and like I tweeted earlier, he’s tall, dark, thin, handsome… and bald.
Tang Wei walked with Jimmy Wang (Wu Xia). I never realized she has a deep voice. And she’s tall and pretty, I like her better than Shu Qi. Jimmy, meanwhile, elicited the most laughter just before he was about to present a posthumous lifetime achievement award to director Ting Shan-si. Jimmy was nominated for best supporting actor but lost it to Bokeh Kosang of Seediq Bale so he quipped: “I didn’t get a zhong jiang (award) but I got a zhong feng (stroke).” Everyone cracked up even Andy Lau, who was seated at the front-center with Deannie Yip.
It was funny watching them–and the other actresses generally–walk inside the venue being followed by a coterie of assistants, one or two hanging on to their trains. The two of them together with Sylvia Chang, presented the best director, which went to Ann Hui. When I grow old, I want to be like Sylvia Chang. She’s aging gracefully.
I was betting on his co-star, Lawrence Ko, to win best supporting actor. Lawrence received a lot of critical acclaim for his role in Jump Ashin! and he was equally good in Au Revoir Taipei. I’m sure his time will come to sweep the awards.
Still, it was THE Andy Lau who generated a lot of screams from the red carpet crowd as well as those inside who craned their necks and stood up from their seats just to catch a glimpse of him when Wa Jai walked in. Andy Lau is after all Andy Lau.
A few minutes after he was seated at the front beside Deannie, the program started. It was hosted by Eric Tsang and his daughter Bowie, who did a skit inspired by the looks of the top three films vying for tonight’s awards: Seediq Bale, Apple of My Eye and Jump Ashin!
The first presenters were Vic Chou and Ella, and during the commercial break, the teaser of their movie Perfect Two with Xiao Xiao Bin, was shown. (I wasn’t sure how it was on the live TV broadcast because at the venue, there was only one in-house commercial in between gaps.)
Their movie looks interesting and they surprisingly had chemistry onstage. Ella looks pretty in person, and slimmer. It’s really true that TV adds on pounds. Anyway, A from the New York Times, who was my seatmate quipped that Zai Zai reminds her of Keannu Reeves.
Then Chen Bo-lin presented with Aoi Miyazaki and he even spoke Japanese, translating for her. It was cute how she called him “Da Ren Ge”. Bo-lin is a charming boy in person and thankfully, no trace of the angst he’s feeling right now in In Time With You.
I guess it pays to have a supermodel for a wife. His fashion sense remains hip. He presented an award with Michelle Chen and he and Eric were teasing her onstage about being nervous over the best actress award.
Giddens Ko, director and writer of Apple of My Eye, also presented an award with I guess the grown-up editions of the characters in the movie? Sorry, I was lost in translation here.
I was betting on Giddens to take the best new director award, but he lost it to Wuershan of The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman. Nevermind, his movie is this year’s biggest grossing film, not only in Taiwan but in Hong Kong, and that is more than enough award one could ask for, especially for a debut movie.
There were only three highly applauded names at the ceremony: Seediq Bale, Apple of My Eye and Andy Lau.
And this was the part that the Western journalists decided to leave because they felt they have seen enough and could not understand a word anyway. So I missed out on the most important awards like best newcomer which went to Ko Chen-tung (Apple of My Eye). At least one of my bets won though it was no surprise. And he was apparently wearing lucky underwear tonight.
He’s cute, isn’t he? Angie Cai has once more created a star. During my interview with her in January this year, when Apple of My Eye, was just in post-production stage and no one thought it would be this big, she said that this boy is the son of one of her friends. He wanted to be an actor so her friend brought him over to one of their parties. “He’s not that bad-looking,” Angie said though I had doubts when I looked at the photo she showed me. He looked ordinary. But then again, I’m no Angie Cai, I don’t have her eye for stars.
I missed seeing Andy’s moment, among many others, but I’d rather look at it as my glass being half full.
I mean, in one night, I had my fill of Chinese stars in person: Ethan Ruan, Vivian Hsu, Vic Chou, Ella, Chen Bo-lin, Michelle Chen, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Tang Wei, Shu Qi, Carina Lau, etc. But of course, last but not the least, THE Andy Lau. Though I missed his winning moment, I saw for myself how he’s really loved by the industry and public in general. At his age, he still manages to light an entire auditorium the moment he walks in. Wow, that’s really something. And yet, he’s still a very gracious man, and that bow he made after his speech, it says everything.
Till the next Golden Horse! (Next year will be in Yilan.)
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