27th November 2023 – (Taipei) Chinese actress Hu Ling made history on Saturday, November 25, by becoming the first Chinese film star to grace the red carpet of Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards since 2019. This event marks a significant moment as China had previously boycotted the awards show due to political tensions between the two regions.
Accompanied by Chinese film director Yan Xiaolin and members of the cast of the education drama “Carp Leaping Over Dragon’s Gate,” Hu Ling appeared at the ceremony dressed in a shimmering gown, holding a pineapple in her hands. In a televised interview, she explained that the film she was nominated for, known as “Pineapple” in Chinese, holds a special meaning in Taiwanese culture, symbolizing good luck.
The Golden Horse Awards, often referred to as the Chinese-language Oscars, had faced controversy in the past due to a Taiwanese director expressing support for the island’s independence during an acceptance speech in 2018. Consequently, Beijing imposed a ban on Chinese entertainers participating in the event. China considers Taiwan as its own territory and has historically blacklisted stars who show any signs of supporting the island’s independence.
However, this year’s awards saw a change in participation. Chinese director Huang Ji attended the ceremony with her Japanese husband Ryuji Otsuka, and the couple received the prestigious Best Feature Film award for their co-directed social drama “Stonewalling.” Expressing her gratitude to the Golden Horse Awards, Huang Ji stated, “After winning the Golden Horse awards, we can go to a wilder world and gallop.”
The presence of mainland Chinese actors at the awards ceremony is a departure from previous years. In 2019, there were no mainland films nominated, and several Hong Kong movies dropped out. In both the 2020 and 2021 editions, notable commercial productions were conspicuously absent. Chinese star Cya Liu, nominated for Best Actress for the Hong Kong crime thriller “Limbo,” did not attend the 2022 ceremony without providing any reasons.
Although Hu Ling did not win the Best Actress award, the title went to Taiwan’s 12-year-old Audrey Lin for her role in “Trouble Girl,” making her the youngest-ever recipient of the accolade in Golden Horse history. The awards also recognized Taiwanese talent, with Hsiao Ya-chuan winning Best Director for the family drama “Old Fox,” and Wu Kang-ren securing the Best Actor award for his portrayal of a mute man in the Malaysian film “Abang Adik.”
In addition, the Best Documentary Short Film award was presented to “The Memo,” a video diary capturing the experiences of a filmmaker couple during the pandemic lockdown in a small Shanghai apartment.