Two Singaporean films made their mark at the 56th Golden Horse Awards held in Taipei last night, winning three awards from 10 nominations.
Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann won Best Leading Actress for her performance in Wet Season, Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen’s much-anticipated second feature-length film, while Singaporean film-maker Yeo Siew Hua scored a Best Original Screenplay win for A Land Imagined.
A Land Imagined also picked up the Best Original Film Score award for its Singaporean composer, Teo Wei Yong.
Yeo Yann Yann, who is based in Singapore, was visibly emotional as she picked up her award onstage, tearing up as she thanked Chen, her fellow actors Koh Jia Ler and Yang Shi Bin, as well as her late mentor and local theatre practitioner Kuo Pao Kun.
She said: “It’s not easy to be an actress working in Singapore and Malaysia, and once, when I felt like giving up, Kuo told me: ‘You think I’ve never thought of giving up? I think that every night, but make a decision to keep going every morning.’
“My teacher is still watching me from heaven and I want him to know that I will keep going.”
She had previously won the Best Supporting Actress award in 2013, for Chen’s debut feature film Ilo Ilo.
Wet Season, about a Chinese language teacher (Yeo) struggling with infertility, a loveless marriage and workplace problems, was nominated for six awards including Best Director for Chen and Best Supporting Actor for Koh and Yang.
Yeo Yann Yann’s win was the film’s only one for the night.
Chen lost both Best Director and Best Narrative Feature to family drama A Sun.
Koh and Yang lost their category to up-and-coming Taiwanese actor Liu Kuan-ting for his performance in A Sun.
Wet Season premiered in Singapore on Thursday as the opening film of the Singapore International Film Festival and is now showing in theatres here.
Speaking to The Sunday Times after her win, Yeo Yann Yann, 42, said she had forgotten to thank her family during her acceptance speech.
“I want to thank my family in Singapore and Malaysia. Without their support, I would not have been able to achieve what I have achieved,” she said
Yeo Siew Hua, 34, said he was thrilled to have won Best Original Screenplay, beating Chen and other Taiwanese prestige films like Nina Wu and A Sun.
A Land Imagined is about a police investigator who tries to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a Chinese construction worker at a land reclamation site.
He told The Sunday Times after his win: “I am so thrilled because I have watched the Golden Horse Awards since I was little and to receive this award is a great recognition for me and all those who have made this film possible.”
A Land Imagined’s composer Teo also beat another heavyweight in the Best Original Film Score category – Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who scored the documentary Your Face.
Teo said: “Despite winning this award, I am actually nowhere near a veteran like Sakamoto. He has a lifetime of accolades. I’m just beginning.”
The night was dominated by Taiwanese feature A Sun, which picked up five awards including Best Narrative Feature, Best Director and Best Actor. Taiwanese horror film Detention also won five awards, including Best New Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Chinese and most Hong Kong films were absent after the Chinese authorities banned its films and stars from participating in the awards, which is often touted as the Oscars of Mandarin cinema.
The ban was seen as a retaliation to a speech made at the ceremony last year, where a film-maker expressed her support for Taiwan’s independence.
Best Narrative Feature: A Sun
Best Director: Chung Mong-hong (A Sun)
Best Leading Actor: Chen Yi-wen (A Sun)
Best Leading Actress: Yeo Yann Yann (Wet Season)
Best Supporting Actor: Liu Kuan-ting (A Sun)
Best Supporting Actress: Winnie Chang (The Teacher)
Best New Director: John Hsu (Detention)
Best New Performer: Fandy Fan (We Are Champions)
Best Original Screenplay: Yeo Siew Hua (A Land Imagined)
Best Adapted Screenplay: John Hsu, Fu Kai-ling, Chien Shih-keng (Detention)
Best Original Film Score: Teo Wei Yong (A Land Imagined)
Best Film Editing: Lai Hsiu-hsiung (A Sun)
Best Sound Effects: Li Danfeng, Chou Cheng, Morgan Yen (Nina Wu)