On the night the Star Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary, it seemed fitting that the veterans of Singapore’s Mandarin entertainment scene ruled.
From Zoe Tay and Chen Hanwei winning Best Actress and Actor for their respective roles as screen wife and husband in A Million Dollar Dream to the supporting acting gongs for Chen Shu Cheng and Lin Mei Jiao for A Million Dollar Dream, and Fifty And Fabulous respectively – the “oldies” were top of the heap this year at awards night held on Sunday (Apr 14) at MES Theatre.
“I'm so nervous. I feel like I'm in love all over again,” said Tay (who had bested Fann Wong and four others to win this year). “To the producers, please cast me again if you're shooting another serial. I may be expensive but I'm a reliable brand!”
For Lin, it was a shock surprise. “I really didn't expect this win and I was telling Aileen Tan that we would just spectate. My daughter Chantalle Ng told me before we left that we were getting disillusioned because I haven't won in so long.”
Even some of the Top 10 Most Popular awards went to old-timers for the first time (or first in a long time), such as Chen Xiu Xuan, Hong Huifang and Zhu Houren.
STAR SEARCH TO ALOYSIUS PANG
And then you have the surprise announcement of the night – the return of Star Search, the talent show that launched the careers of many, including the likes of the Queen of Caldecott Hill herself (during the very first edition in 1988), Felicia Chin, Christopher Lee, Andie Chen, Chew Chor Meng, and many more.
“If you have courage, come enter and let us see what you’ve got,” urged Lee, when the audition dates in May were announced.
And speaking of Chew Chor Meng, he also received a special Achievement Award presented by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung – and gave a speech that had everyone in tears.
“I started my acting career as a calefare. I am lucky to be given the job I enjoy. My health hasn't been good recently but I'm grateful that I can still act,” he said, onstage. “Should I become paralysed, I will continue to act my best even if I'm seated.”
That wasn’t the only time audiences had something in their eyes. There was also a touching tribute to the late actor Aloysius Pang.
A photo montage charting his career was shown while his peers, including Xu Bin and Zong Zi Jie, performed the song Voices From My Heart.
The montage, which included photos from the time he went to Japan to prepare for his directorial debut, brought many to tears, including veteran actor Chen Shucheng and his girlfriend Jayley Woo.
“It’s sad that Aloysius is not here with us today. But I believe right now, he’s an angel above staring right down at us now,” his friend and fellow actor Ian Fang told CNA Lifestyle backstage earlier that day.
Pang’s manager Dasmond Koh also paid tribute when he went up to accept his Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes award: “Thank you to those who have supported Aloysius”.
Elsewhere, Blessings 2 won for Best Drama Serial. The show, a sequel to 2014’s Blessings, is about a man who travels back in time to 1918.
KYM NG’S GODDESS POSE
Television host Kym Ng, meanwhile, was given the All-Time Favourite Artiste award, which is presented to an artiste who has been on the Most Popular Artiste list for the past 10 years. “I’m not a mortal today. I’m a goddess. Here’s my pose as a goddess,” she joked, as she held up her award.
Backstage, she quipped: “I know some people gave me a standing ovation but I couldn’t see them. They shouldn’t stand up for me lah, I’m still very young leh”.
Hosted by Quan Yifeng, the Star Awards – which carried the theme The Moment – kicked off with a segment that looked at drama serials in the years past, as well as some of notable moments during past Star Awards editions.
At some point, there was also a performance of a specially commissioned song for the occasion, Starlight, by Tay, Hanwei, Rebecca Lim and Desmond Tan.
But it wasn’t just an all-Singapore affair. Also present – and either presenting awards or performing – were regional stars such as Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung; Story Of Yangxi Palace’s Wu Jinyan; Taiwanese boyband members Jerry Yan of F4 and Tony Sun of 5566; Hong Kong actor Roger Kwok; and actor Blue Lan and singer-songwriter Eric Chou of Taiwan.
As it turned out, Singaporean actor Lawrence Wong didn't just help Wu, his Yanxi Palace co-star with her English, he has also pointed her to the local food. The petite Chinese actress, who was in Singapore for the first time, certainly took his advice by tucking into a spread that Wong shared on his Instagram.
"I managed to order a lot of Singaporean food. It was my chance to try the local flavours in the short time that I have here," said Wu, who loved bak kut teh, chee cheong fun and pandan cake.
"I just arrived this morning and I have to get to the airport immediately after the show wraps. I would like to take a walk around and see more of Singapore. I think the architecture here is beautiful. It’s a pity I don’t have the time," she said.
STAR AWARDS 2019 WINNERS LIST
Best Actress: Zoe Tay (A Million Dollar Dream)
Best Actor: Chen Hanwei (A Million Dollar Dream)
Best Drama Serial: Blessings 2
Best Supporting Actor: Chen Shu Cheng (A Million Dollar Dream)
Best Supporting Actress: Lin Mei Jiao (Fifty And Fabulous)
Achievement Award: Chew Chor Meng
Best Newcomer Award: Jasmine Sim (Doppelganger)
Evergreen Artiste Award: Xiang Yun
Best Programme Host (Variety, Info-Ed & Infotainment): Quan Yi Fong (Fixer 2)
Young Talent Award: Natalie Mae Tan (Blessings 2)
Best Variety Programme: GeTai Challenge 2018
Best Variety Special Programme: SPOP SING! - Grand Final
Best Info-ed Programme: Business As Usual
Best Short-form Drama Serial: Love At Cavenagh Bridge
Best Short-form Variety Programme: Workman Diaries
Best Theme Song: Shou Hu Ni De Shan Liang (You Can Be An Angel 3)
Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes: Paige Chua, Rebecca Lim, Felicia Chin, Ya Hui, Carrie Wong, Chen Xiu Huan, Pan Ling Ling, Jesseca Liu, Hong Huifang, Lina Ng
Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes: Romeo Tan, Pierre Png, Zheng Geping, Zhu Houren, Pornsak, Desmond Tan, Shaun Chen, Dennis Chew, Dasmond Koh, Chen Shucheng