Thursday, October 22, 2009

Honours Shared in 18th Golden Rooster Awards

Award winners (left to right) Zhou Xun, Wu Gang and Jiang Wenli

The 18th Golden Rooster Awards (金鸡奖, pinyin: Jīn jī jiăng) were announced on the weekend, and the judges were unable to separate the winners in both the Best Film and Best Actress categories. The two most nominated films, the graphic war drama Assembly (集结号) and Peking Opera biopic Forever Enthralled (梅兰芳) (nine and eight nominations respectively) shared the Best Film award.

There were also dual winners in the Best Actress category. Zhou Xun (周迅) celebrated her 35th birthday with a statuette for her portrayal of a lovelorn taxi driver in The Equation of Love and Death, sharing the victory dias with Jiang Wenli (蒋雯丽) who was recognised for her performance as a village woman who dreams of becoming an opera star in And the Spring Comes. It has turned out to be a huge week for Jiang - her directorial film debut, Lan, won the Audience Award at the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea the day before.

The Best Actor award, in something of an upset, went to Wu Gang (吴刚), an actor not well-known outside China. He won for his role as working class hero and socialist role model Wang Jinxi in the film Iron Man. Wu reportedly lost 10 kilograms for the role of the heroic oil worker who played a key role in the early establishment years of the Daqing oil fields.

Other major winners were popular director Feng Xiaogang (冯小刚) for Assembly, finally rewarded after years of being ignored by the Golden Rooster jury, and veteran character actor Wang Xueqi (王学圻) who won Best Supporting Actor for Forever Enthralled. In another upset Yue Hong (岳红) was the winner of the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her performance as a formidable village brigade chief in the comedy A Tale of Two Donkeys. She beat international star Zhang Ziyi who had been nominated for her performance as Mei Langfang's love interest in Forever Enthralled.

The Golden Rooster Awards are one of mainland China's big three film awards, the others being the Huabiao Awards (announced in August) and the One Hundred Flowers Award. The Golden Rooster Awards are held every two years and winners are determined by a panel of judges. In alternate years the One Hundred Flower Award is chosen by popular vote for the single category of Best Film. The 2008 One Hundred Flowers Award winner was also awarded to Assembly.

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