China's 'Blind Massage' Sweeps Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards

Clifford Coonan

Chen Jianbin wins best lead and best supporting actor awards, as well as best new director for 'A Fool'

Chinese director Lou Ye's Blind Massage swept Taiwan's Golden Horse movie awards, picking up six gongs including best picture at the event often described as the Chinese-language Oscars.

Based on the popular novel by Bi Feiyu, Blind Massage (Tui Na in Chinese) is set in Nanjing, a mid-ranking city in China not too far from Shanghai, and it refers to a popular kind of massage given by blind therapists in China.

The film won the feature film, cinematography, film editing, adapted screenplay and sound effects categories, while Zhang Lei won best new performer.

Lou's censorship history is well known– Summer Palace in 2006 earned him a five-year ban for its references to the bloody crackdown on the democracy movement in Beijing in 1989.

Read more Taiwan Warns Against Banning Golden Horse Awards in Mainland China

The movie beat the hotly tipped noir thriller Black Coal, Thin Ice, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. Blind Massage's Jian Zeng won a cinematography award at the Berlinale.

The movie won six of the seven categories it was nominated in at the event, which takes place in self-ruled Taiwan but celebrates Chinese language cinema from all around the region.

Hong Kong director Ann Hui won her third best director award for The Golden Era, which tells the story of the Chinese writer Xiao Hong, and which also won best supporting actress for Hao Lei.

It's Hui's third best director win at the Golden Horse.

Black Coal, Thin Ice's Liu Qiangwon best art direction.

Read more Golden Horse Awards: 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' Leads Nominations

The other big winner in Taipei at the 51st edition of the Golden Horse awards was director Chen Jianbin, who won best lead actor and best new director for A Fool. He also added best supporting actor for his role in the Taiwanese historical drama about conscription, Paradise in Service. Regina Wan won the best supporting actress prize for the same movie.

Chen Shiang-Chyi won best actress for Exit, and she spoke of her pride in taking an award for Taiwanese cinema.

"I feel like I have made it, to be able to win this award for Taiwan. I love Taiwan films and I dedicated this for Taiwan," she said in a speech.

Unlike the Oscars or France's Cesars, the Golden Horse winners are decided by jury. This year's 17-member jury was chaired by the actress and director Joan Chen, who starred in The Last Emperor and Twin Peaks.

Among the stars who walked the red carpet at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall were Gong Li, who narrowly missed out on the best actress award, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi, Lily Collins and Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase.

Full list of winners:

Best Picture
Blind Massage (China/France)

Best Director
Ann Hui, The Golden Era
Best Debut Director
Chen Jianbin, A Fool

Best Leading Actress
Chen Shiang-chyi, Exit

Best Leading Actor

Chen Jianbin, A Fool

Best Supporting Actress
Hao Lei, The Golden Era

Best Supporting Actor
Chen Jianbin, Paradise in Service

Best New Performer

Zhang Lei, Blind Massage

Best Original Screenplay

Yee Chih-yen, Meeting Dr. Sun

Best Adapted Screenplay

Ma Yingli, Blind Massage

Best Cinematography

Zeng Jian, Blind Massage

Best Art Direction

Liu Qiang, Black Coal, Thin Ice

Best Makeup & Costume Design

Liang Tingting, Brotherhood of Blades

Best Action Choreography

Jack Wong, As The Light Goes Out

Best Documentary

Cotton, 21st Century Media, SMG

Original Music Award for Best Film

Chen Qigang, Coming Home

Best Original Film Song Award

The Road We Pass, The Continent

Best Film Editing

Kong Jinlei, Zhu Jolin, Blind Massage

Best Sound Effects

Fu Kang, Blind Massage

Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year

Jimmy Huang

Audience Choice Award

Lifetime Achievement Award
Tian Feng