TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - The Hong Kong historical drama “The Warlords” was the big winner on Saturday at the Golden Horse awards, considered the Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars.
Starring martial arts master Jet Li, “The Warlords” took the awards for best film and best director, beating out low-budget favorite “Cape No. 7” in an awards ceremony held in the central Taiwan city of Taichung.
“Thank you everyone who’s gone to see the movies — not just ‘Warlords’, but also movies like ‘Cape No. 7,’” winning director Peter Chan said, paying tribute to the low-budget rival.
“The Warlords” had 12 nominations, the most of any film, and although it won only three awards, these included the night’s two top honors, plus best visual effects.
“Cape No. 7,” a comedy that has taken the local market by storm, won four awards, including best Taiwan film of the year. It also won best Taiwan director of the year for Wei Te-sheng.
Its highest honor was best supporting actor for Ma Ju-lung, who plays a local politician in the film about small town folk in southern Taiwan who form a rock band that opens for a Japanese superstar.
The audience clearly was disappointed that the hometown favorite lost out in the major categories to the bigger-budget Hong Kong-China co-production.
In other major categories, Prudence Liew took best actress for her role in “True Women For Sale,” while Zhang Han-yu took best actor honors for his part in “The Assembly.”
“The Warlords” tells the story of a 19th-century general set to become governor during the waning years of the Qing dynasty.
“Cape No. 7,” meanwhile, has been a sensation in Taiwan, with the highest box office take in the island’s history.
Since opening in August, “Cape” has earned some T$230 million ($7 million) in Taipei alone, more than double the second-highest grossing film this year, the Hollywood blockbuster “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.”
Foreign films dominate Taiwan’s box office and continued to do so in 2008, with the next highest-grossing Taiwan-made entry this year coming in 31st with a box office of T$17 million.
Editing by Michael Roddy