Gong Li Cries Foul Over Judging Process for Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards

FILM: Gong Li

Gong Li (ICM) will star in the China-U.S. co-production "The Last Empress" for Seven Stars Film Studios.

Chinese actress says awards organizers are unprofessional after she loses out to local rival

China's Gong Li, who failed to win the best actress award at Taiwan's Golden Horse ceremony last weekend despite being widely tipped for her performance in Coming Home, has said the judging process was "unjust".

Gong's performance in Zhang Yimou's film had been widely praised, and she looked a shoe-in for the prize, which instead went to Taiwanese actress Chen Shiang-chyi for her performance in the domestic movie Exit.

"I would like to give special thanks to the Golden Horse Awards for giving me this opportunity to see just what an unprofessional film festival looks like," Gong's publicist Zeng Jingchao said in a message sent to Taiwan's CNA news agency.

Mainland China scored big at the awards. Chinese director Lou Ye's Blind Massage picked up six gongs including best picture at the event, which is often described as the Chinese-language Oscars.

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The awards celebrate Chinese-language films, but there is a political backdrop as Taiwan has been self-ruled since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists lost the Chinese civil war with Chairman Mao Zedong’s Communists and fled across the strait in 1949.

The Golden Horse Awards are the oldest and most established film honors in Chinese cinema and this year they were dominated by mainland Chinese movies, with four out of the five nominees for the Best Director award are from mainland China.

Gong was not amused that she lost out to a local Taiwanese rival.

"And this unprofessional film festival will leave all workers in the arts looking down on it. All the criticisms should be enough to let the Golden Horse Awards know it needs to reflect on itself. I like Taiwan, and I will visit Taiwan many more times in the future, but this was my first time coming to the Golden Horse Awards and it will be my last."

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

Gong did not show up for any post-event parties and there were reports that her sponsor had to cancel a celebration party planned to mark her victory.

The 17-person jury was chaired by actor and director Joan Chen, of Twin Peaks and The Last Emperor fame and there had been speculation that rivalry between Gong and Chen did not augur well for Gong's chances.

However, Chen issued a statement on her Weibo social media page saying that this was rubbish.

"Please, I ask the media to do their job properly and do some research. I always respect Gong Li's acting ability and she was so moving and precise in Coming Home,"she said, adding that she had voted for Gong in all three rounds of voting.