Chinese cinema gears up for its biggest night of the year

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The Independent Culture

It wouldn't really be the Chinese film industry's night of nights without a little controversy -- and a hint of a scandal. And Taiwan's Golden Horse awards -- to be held in the capital Taipei this Saturday) -- have already delivered a little bit of both.

(Relaxnews) -

It wouldn't really be the Chinese film industry's night of nights without a little controversy - and a hint of a scandal. And Taiwan's Golden Horse awards - to be held in the capital Taipei this Saturday) - have already delivered a little bit of both.

Commonly known as the Chinese film industry's "Oscars," the Golden Horse awards date back to 1962 and honor the very best offered by Chinese-language cinema over the previous 12 months.

The awards carry justifiable cachet for filmmakers both domestically and overseas. For films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Infernal Affairs (2003), winning Golden Horse awards helped raise their profile and led to the films being given wide international release.

But there were raised eyebrows this year when the Taiwanese-born director Yonfan's critically acclaimed Prince of Tears was completely ignored when nominations were released at the start of October.

That film - set around the "White Terror" anti-communist movement of the 1950s - used some funds drawn from the Taiwanese government but is being put forward by Hong Kong for Academy Award consideration this year, as its director and the majority of its crew work out of that city.

Industry insiders say the Taiwanese were not amused, while Yonfan himself said he couldn't care less.

The scandal this year comes from the tabloid press who claim that Hong Kong actress Carina Lau is avoiding this year's awards due to the appearance of Maggie Cheung as a host.

Cheung, a five-time Golden Horse winner thanks to films such as In the Mood for Love (2000), is due to appear as a presenter at this year's awards - and has had a rumored on-again, off-again affair with actor Tony Leung, who just happens to be Lau's partner.

As for the serious stuff, Macau-born Australian-based director Clara Law is the front-runner with nine nominations for Like A Dream - a drama which follows a man searching for his imaginary lover, staring Yolanda Yuan and the American-born Daniel Wu.

Law looks set to battle it out on the night with the Taiwanese production No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti - which follows a poor man's fight to keep custody of his child - which has been nominated for eight awards, including best director for Leon Dai.

Many fans of Chinese film will be hoping that this is finally the year when the acclaimed Zhang Ziyi gets a gong - she has yet to win one despite nominations for her roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and 2046 (2004). This year Zhang is up for best supporting actress for Chen Kaige's Forever Enthralled.

And the nominees are....

Best Feature Film: No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti, Cow, Crazy Racer, Face, Like A Dream

Best Director: Leon Dai ( No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti), Guan Hu ( Cow), Tsai Ming-liang ( Face), Clara Law ( Like A Dream).

Best Leading Actor: Chen Wen-pin ( No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti), Nick Cheung ( Beast Stalker), Huang Bo ( Cow), Daniel Wu ( Like A Dream).

Best Leading Actress: Sandrine Pinna ( Yang Yang), Yolanda Yuan ( Like A Dream), Zhou Xun ( The Message), Li Bingbing ( The Message).

http://www.goldenhorse.org.tw

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