TAIPEI: Films from mainland China dominated this year's Golden Horse Film Awards in Taiwan, considered the Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars, with two social dramas scooping up top honours on Saturday (Nov 26).
Chinese director Zhang Dalei's black-and-white film, "The Summer Is Gone", was the biggest dark horse of the night, winning the coveted best picture award.
"What should I say? I really wasn't expecting this. It's unbelievable ... it's like a pilgrimage for me coming to Taipei," Zhang said.
Ten-year-old Kong Weiyi was awarded best new performer for his role in the film, which follows a boy growing up in a small town in western China during the 1980s and 1990s.
China's Feng Xiaogang took the best director title for "I Am Not Madame Bovary" which stars top actress Fan Bingbing playing a peasant who sues her swindler ex-husband.
"I want to thank Bingbing. She is a star and acts in this art film without taking any payment," Feng said after he received the award from French actress Juliette Binoche.
"I hope to encourage more stars to use their influence to get the audiences to go to the theatres to watch movies," he added.
The film scooped the best picture prize at Spain's San Sebastian film festival in September, with Fan winning the best actress gong.
But Fan, known to overseas audiences for her appearance in "X-Men: Days of Future Past", lost the Golden Horse best actress title to fellow Chinese stars Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun, who shared the honour for their performances as friends who fall for the same man in "Soul Mate".
China's Fan Wei was another surprise winner as he saw off better-known Hong Kong rivals Tony Leung Kai-fai and Jacky Cheung as well as Taiwan's Kai Ko to win best actor for his role as a slick farm manager in "Mr. No Problem".
Critically-acclaimed immigrant drama "The Road to Mandalay" suffered the biggest upset of the night, scooping only one award - for outstanding Taiwanese filmmaker of the year - despite being tipped to win in major categories.
Taiwan's Elaine Jin won her second best supporting actress statuette after 22 years for playing a depressed mother in Hong Kong director Wong Chun's family drama "Mad World".
Wong claimed the best new director award for his debut feature film shot on a shoestring budget of around US$258,000.
Best supporting actor went to Taiwanese singer-actor Lin Po-hung for his role in "At Cafe 6".
Nearly 50 films were nominated for the 53rd edition of the Golden Horse awards.
Although the Golden Horse is styled on the US Academy Awards, the winners are decided by a jury, along the lines of the Cannes film festival.
List of winners in key categories at the 53rd Golden Horse film awards:
Best Feature Film: "The Summer Is Gone"
Best Director: Feng Xiaogang, "I Am Not Madame Bovary"
Best Leading Actor: Fan Wei, "Mr No Problem"
Best Leading Actress: Zhou Dongyu/Ma Sichun, "Soul Mate"
Best Supporting Actor: Lin Po-hung, "At Cafe 6"
Best Supporting Actress: Elaine Jin, "Mad World"
Best New Director: Wong Chun, "Mad World"
Best New Performer: Kong Weiyi, "The Summer Is Gone"
Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Midi Z, "The Road to Mandalay"
Audience Choice Award: "I Am Not Madame Bovary"
FIPRESCI Prize: "The Summer Is Gone"