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TAIPEI, Nov 25 — Veteran movie stars will take on a 14-year-old newcomer today at Taiwan’s Golden Horse awards, dubbed the Chinese “Oscars”, with the teenager tipped to steal the show.
Oscar-winning director Ang Lee is among the big names set to walk down the red carpet ahead of the ceremony in Taipei and will present the best actress award with Hollywood star Jessica Chastain.
Taiwanese teenager Vicky Chen is up against some of the industry’s biggest names for the best actress gong, including acclaimed director-actress Sylvia Chang (Love Education) and mega-star Shu Qi (The Village of No Return), both also from Taiwan.
Chen plays a hotel maid struggling with her conscience after witnessing a sexual assault, fearing she will lose her job if she reports it, in Chinese director Vivian Qu’s drama Angels Wear White.
She is also nominated for best supporting actress in Taiwanese director Yang Ya-che’s popular thriller The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful — a frontrunner for best film with seven nominations.
Chen stars alongside Hong Kong veteran Kara Wai, nominated for best actress for her role in the movie, which tells the story of a wealthy family entangled in deadly political and business intrigues.
Two former Golden Horse best actress winners — Hong Kong’s Deanie Ip and Taiwanese Chen Shiang-chyi — are also eyeing the best supporting actress statuette.
Critics predict a tight race for best film between The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful, Love Education, and Taiwanese director Huang Hsin-yao’s The Great Buddha+ which leads the race with 10 nominations.
Huang’s film, shot mostly in black-and-white, tells the story of a security guard at a factory which makes Buddha statues. The movie has struck a chord with Taiwanese audiences as it focuses on the struggles of ordinary people against the backdrop of a widening wealth gap.
Drama Love Education, about a teacher juggling family problems and forced retirement, earned Sylvia Chang a nod for best director and pits her against Yang Ya-che, Vivian Qu and Hong Kong director Ann Hui (Our Time will Come).
Taiwanese-Japanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro is nominated for best actor for portraying an over-the-top bar landlord in the romantic comedy See You Tomorrow, which has seven nominations.
His main challengers are former Golden Horse best actor Huang Bo (The Conformist) and director-actor Tian Zhuang-zhuang (Love Education), both from China.
Mason Lee, son of Ang Lee, is tipped for the best supporting actor prize for his policeman role in the thriller Who Killed Cock Robin.
He takes on Hong Kong star Tony Leung Ka-fai (Our Time Will Come) and Taiwan’s Leon Dai (The Great Buddha+).
Nearly 50 films are nominated for the 54th edition of the Golden Horse Film Awards, with the ceremony due to start at 7:00pm (1100 GMT) in Taipei’s Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. — AFP