SINGAPORE — Singapore films bagged three prizes at the Golden Horse Awards announced on Saturday (23 Nov) – Yeo Yann Yann won Best Actress for Wet Season, and Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined won Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Film Score for composer Teo Wei Yong.
Yeo played Chinese language schoolteacher, Ling, in Wet Season. The actress, who is Malaysian but is based in Singapore, said upon receiving her award, “I’d like to thank the crew of Wet Season for allowing me to step into the darkness as well as the light of Ling. It’s not easy being an actor in Singapore and Malaysia, but I learnt from my mentor Kuo Pao Kun, who never gave up.”
Yeo previously had won the Best Supporting Actress Golden Horse in 2013 for Ilo Ilo, also directed by Chen.
A Sun by Taiwanese director Chung Mong-hong swept most of the top awards, picking up Best Narrative Feature Film, Best Director for Chung, Best Actor for Chen Yi-wen, and Best Supporting Actor for Liu Kuan-ting. The Teacher’s Winnie Chang won Best Supporting Actress.
Wet Season by Singaporean director Anthony Chen was up for several categories, having been nominated for Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Leading Actress (Yeo Yann Yan), Best Supporting Actor (for both Koh Jia Ler and Yang Shi Bin), and Best Original Screenplay.
A Land Imagined, starring Peter Yu, was also nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Effects.
Wet Season is about a teacher who faces problems in her marriage and at school who rediscovers herself through an unlikely relationship with a student.
A Land Imagined is about a police detective who investigates the case of a migrant worker who goes missing.
The Golden Horse Festival and Film Awards, held in Taiwan annually, have traditionally been considered the most prestigious prizes for films in the Chinese language.
China boycotted this year’s Golden Horse Awards over pro-Taiwan independence comments made by a Taiwanese award winner during last year’s Golden Horse Awards. Films from mainland China were completely absent from the list of nominees, with only a handful of titles from Hong Kong on the list. Most of the nominees were Taiwanese, besides some nominations for films from Singapore and Malaysia.
Chen said of his muse Yeo at a Wet Season press conference in Singapore on Thursday (21 Nov), “I think Yeo Yann Yann is probably one of, if not the best actress of her generation in Singapore and Malaysia. I don’t even need to vouch for her because her performance speaks for itself, whether in her previous works, or in Ilo Ilo or this film (Wet Season).”
Commenting on China’s boycott of the Golden Horse Awards, Chen had said, “The cross-strait politics are changing everyday. It’s very hard for me to comment on politics, because things are changing all the time. I’m a director and screenwriter; I can only make the best possible film I can make. I’m just very glad that the Golden Horse jury saw value in the work.”
Chen’s previous film, Ilo Ilo, won four awards at the Golden Horse Awards in 2013, for Best Original Screenplay, Best New Director, Best Supporting Actress (Yeo Yann Yan) and Best Feature Film.
Both Wet Season and A Land Imagined will screen in Singapore cinemas beginning this Thursday (28 Nov), though you can stream A Land Imagined on Netflix.