Ang Lee Supports Taiwanese Movie Awards Despite Mainland China’s Boycott: ‘It Is a Loss’

The lack of film talent at Taiwan’s version of the Oscars this weekend did not go unnoticed by chairman Ang Lee.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee poses on the red carpet at the 56th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, . Lee is the guest at this year's Golden Horse Awards, one of the Chinese-language film industry's biggest annual eventsGolden Horse Awards, Taipei, Taiwan - 23 Nov 2019
Ang Lee
Chiang Ying-ying/AP/Shutterstock

This past Saturday, the Golden Horse film awards took place in Taipei, which are the equivalent of the Chinese Oscars. However, the event was marked by a conspicuous absence of talent, which didn’t go unnoticed by Golden Horse festival chairman Ang Lee.

“This is not easy to comment on, everyone knows that,” said Taiwanese filmmaker Lee, as reported by The Guardian. “Of course it is a loss, which can be seen on the red carpet or in the works participating in the film festival.

Mounting tensions between Taiwan and Beijing culminated in China issuing a boycott on the awards ceremony altogether. Hong Kong director Johnnie To previously resigned from his duties as head of the jury, citing a contractual issue, and other filmmakers followed.

“We of course feel regret due to fewer (movies and participants) this year but our arms are opened forever, as long as you are a Chinese-speaking movie director we are welcoming you,” said Ang Lee, the Academy Award-winning director of “Brokeback Mountain” and this year’s “Gemini Man.” That film, despite its impressive CGI reverse-aging technique and star Will Smith at the helm, failed at the box office after opening in October.

However, not all news was bad at the Golden Horse awards fete. The Taiwanese film “A Sun” swept the ceremony, taking home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Editing.

“I thought it would take several more years for me to win Best Picture. I am very happy … although the movies I made haven’t made any profit,” director Chung Mong-hong said upon accepting the award from Ang Lee.

The night’s Best Actress winner, Yeo Yann-Yann for “Wet Season,” also spoke out in support of the event upon claiming her prize. “It’s not easy going down the path in the entertainment (industry) in Singapore and Malaysia … but I will continue walking the path,” she said.

The Golden Horse awards were founded in 1962 and generally field submissions from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Amid the ongoing pro-democracy protests on behalf of Hong Kong, Taiwanese composer Lu Luming, winner for Best Original Film Song, dedicated his award to “Hong Kongers who insist on ideals, and may you live safely and freely”.

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