Chinese government honors outstanding films and filmmakers
China's prestigious Huabiao Film Awards, the highest government honor for the film industry, announced the winners for its 18th and 19th editions at a glamorous event on Tuesday night.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of the 18th edition, originally scheduled for 2020, and the 19th edition, initially planned for 2022. The China Film Administration decided to merge the two editions, presenting the awards at an eagerly anticipated star-studded gala.
The 18th edition saw "My People, My Country," a 2019 blockbuster anthology film marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, earn major awards. The film took home four accolades, including best feature, best director, best actor and best actress. It was one of 10 movies, including "The Wandering Earth," "Ne Zha," "The Climbers" and "The Captain," sharing the Outstanding Feature Film Award.
The 19th edition's best feature film award was also shared by 10 movies, with "The Battle at Lake Changjin," "Embrace Again," and "Nice View" among them. Notably, "The Battle at Lake Changjin" emerged as the biggest winner of the 19th edition, earning awards for best feature, best director, and best film score.
Renowned director Chen Kaige received two Outstanding Director awards for his co-directing role in "My People, My Country" (2019) at the 18th edition and for "The Battle at Lake Changjin" (2021) at the 19th edition. He is currently working on the much-anticipated "The Great War," which is likely to receive recognition at the next edition of the Huabiao Film Awards.
The best actress awards were won by Ren Suxi for "My People, My Country" and Zhang Zifeng for "Sister" for the 18th and 19th editions, respectively, while the best actor awards were presented to Zhang Yi for "My People, My Country" and Liu Ye for "Island Keeper."
Zhang Yi achieved the extraordinary feat of winning the best actor award at all three top Chinese film awards: the Huabiao Film Awards, the Golden Rooster Awards, and the Hundred Flowers Awards.
"I am deeply honored and thrilled by this recognition, but with each accolade I receive for my work, I also feel a profound sense of pressure. I worry about maintaining the same level of quality in future projects and continuing to satisfy audiences. However, as time passes, I will humbly set aside these honors and embark on a fresh journey again," Zhang said.
"The Wandering Earth," China's highest-grossing sci-fi epic of all time, bagged two awards at the 18th edition: best feature film and best scriptwriter, an honor shared among the film's group of scriptwriters including director Frant Gwo and his longtime collaborator, producer Gong Ge'er.
The Huabiao Film Awards were launched in 1957 as a government-sponsored Chinese film award by the Ministry of Culture, demonstrating the country's support for the film industry. The awards underwent reform in 1994, becoming the annual Huabiao Film Awards. A further revision in 2005 transitioned the event to a biennial schedule.
The 18th and 19th Huabiao Film Awards accepted entries from a broad spectrum of genres, including feature films, children's films, rural and minority-themed films, and animations. These films, released between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2022, underwent a rigorous selection process grounded in prioritizing quality. The emphasis was placed on recognizing works with profound ideas, superb artistry, and excellent craftsmanship, while also giving attention to works that underscore social relevance and seek to harmonize social and economic benefits.
The pandemic's toll led to the event's lengthy hiatus. However, for the winners and attendees at Tuesday's gala at the National Indoor Stadium, the award's return marked a significant opportunity to revisit and pay tribute to the remarkable achievements and progress made by the Chinese film industry over the last four years. It provided inspiration for Chinese filmmakers to persist and strive toward a future of even greater prosperity and brilliance.
Winners list of the 18th Huabiao Film Awards:
Outstanding Rural-themed Film: "Fade Away Pastoral"
Outstanding Ethnic Minority-themed Film: "Patrolman Baoyin"
Outstanding Children's Film: "Animal Rescue Squad"
Outstanding Youth Film Creation: "Song of Youth"
Outstanding Film Score: "The Bugle from Gutian"
Outstanding Film Cinematography: "Fade Away Pastoral"
Outstanding Scriptwriter: Gong Ge'er, Yan Dongxu, Frant Gwo, Ye Junce, Yang Zhixue, Wu Ti, Ye Ruchang and Shen Jingjing for "The Wandering Earth"
Outstanding Actress: Ren Suxi for "My People, My Country"
Outstanding Actor: Zhang Yi for "My People, My Country"
Outstanding Directors: Chen Kaige, Guan Hu, Xue Xiaolu, Xu Zheng, Ning Hao, and Wen Muye for "My People, My Country"
Outstanding Feature Films: "My People, My Country," "The Wandering Earth," "The Climbers," "The Captain," "The Bugle from Gutian," "The Composer," "Dr. Huang Danian," "The Faithful," "The Bravest," and "Ne Zha" (animated film)
Winners list of the 19th Huabiao Film Awards:
Outstanding Rural-themed Film: "Coffee or Tea?"
Outstanding Ethnic Minority-themed Film: "The Halha River in Silence"
Outstanding Children's Film: "The Home in the Tree"
Outstanding Youth Film Creation: "Lighting Up The Stars"
Outstanding Film Score: "The Battle at Lake Changjin"
Outstanding Film Cinematography: "A Writer's Odyssey"
Outstanding Scriptwriter: Zhang Ji for "Leap"
Outstanding Actress: Zhang Zifeng for "Sister"
Outstanding Actor: Liu Ye for "Island Keeper"
Outstanding Directors: Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, and Dante Lam for "The Battle at Lake Changjin"
Outstanding Feature Films: "The Battle at Lake Changjin," "Embrace Again," "A Man of the People," "Nice View," "Hi, Mom," "Island Keeper," "My Country, My Parents," "White Snake" (Cantonese opera film), "A Little Red Flower" and "Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification" (animated film)