The Golden Rooster Awards, one of the biggest film awards on the Chinese mainland, were held in Jilin, Northeast China's Jilin Province on Saturday night. While a few popular works won awards as expected, some of the night's winners were a complete surprise.
Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's remake of the "red" classic The Taking of Tiger Mountain, which had nine nominations, took home awards for best director, best actor and best film editing. Many moviegoers have been extremely curious how a Hong Kong director could remake such a mainland-centric red classic so well. According to Tsui, he first read the original novel upon which the films were based about 40 years ago when he was studying in the US. Based on the author's personal experiences, Tsui was deeply impressed by the characters, plot and setting, and from that point on the idea for a film adaptation had always been in his mind.
Tsui pointed out that a good director should be able to transcend different regions and cultures.
Tsui's words seem to fit perfectly with the case of Jean Jacques Annaud. The French director's amazing understanding of a Mongolian story in Wolf Totem astonished both Chinese audiences and critics. The film was given the coveted Best Film Award.
A Fool, the directorial debut of actor Chen Jianbin, won the new director the Best First Film Award, while animated box office hit Monkey King: Hero is Back grabbed the Best Animated Film Award.
While Hero is Back has become a record-breaker, A Fool has yet to release commercially. The film caught the public's attention when debuted at the Golden Horse Film Festival, where it took home two awards. Originally scheduled to release in the mainland shortly after that, the film's release was delayed when Wang Xuebing, one of its lead actors, was arrested on drug charges.
Currently scheduled to premiere on November 20, the film's Golden Rooster win seems to have it set for commercial success.
While the above winners didn't come as much of a surprise, things were quite different in the best actress category where popular actresses like Zhao Wei and Tang Wei lost to Badema, a 75-year-old mongol minority actress.
Established in 1981, the Year of Rooster, the Golden Rooster Awards was combined with the Hundred Flowers Awards in 1992. Starting in 2005 the two award ceremonies have been held on alternating years.
In the past many previous Golden Rooster winners have tended to be films that strayed from the mainstream, leading the general public to pay less attention to the awards. The success of a number of popular films at this year's awards has been seen by many as an attempt to bring the ceremony back to the public eye.
Golden Rooster award winners (incomplete)
Best Feature Film - Wolf Totem
Best Director - Tsui Hark (The Taking of Tiger Mountain)
Best Actor - Zhang Hanyu (The Taking of Tiger Mountain)
Best Actress - Badema (Norjmaa)
Best Supporting Actor - Zhang Yi (Dearest)
Best Supporting Actress - Deng Jiajia (Silent Witness)
Best First Film - Chen Jianbin (A Fool)
Best Animated Film - Monkey King: Hero is Back
Best Original Script - Li Qiang (The Golden Era)
Best Adapted Script - Li Yujiao, Han Jinglong, Xu Ang (12 Citizens)
Source: Official website of the Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Film Festival