Hong Kong’s ‘Limbo’ Leads Golden Horse Award Nominations Despite China Boycott

Soi Cheang Pou-soi’s crime thriller “Limbo” is the front-runner in the Golden Horse Film Awards, with 14 nominations. It is narrowly ahead of Taiwan-produced “Coo-Coo 043” and “Incantation,” which both have 13 nominations.

All three films compete for the best feature award, best director, supporting actor, art direction, makeup and costume design, original film score, film editing and sound effects.

The Taiwan-based Golden Horse Awards have long been considered as the most prestigious prize race for Chinese language films, but they have been boycotted by mainland Chinese films and filmmakers for the past three years on the order of mainland Chinese authorities. This followed a pro-Taiwan independence speech given from the stage in 2018 by a local prize winner.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Peoples’ Republic of China (mainland China) were formed in 1949 at the end of a civil war. The PRC claims democratically-run Taiwan as its own and says that it will be reunited – by force if necessary.

Hong Kong filmmakers have been pressured to follow the mainland thinking and not to take part in the awards race. For the past three years, the Hong Kong trade body, the Motion Picture Industry Association has written warning letters to its members. It urged them to “seriously consider their own interest” and “avoid unnecessary loss” that might occur from attending and being punished. Most Hong Kong filmmakers have stayed away.

In its latest letter the MPIA added political context to its warning. “As we all know, the geopolitical situation has intensified, dealing a serious blow to the cross-strait exchanges of four places [Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the PRC] and inevitably casting a shadow on the film awards during this period of time,” it said.

The letters appear not to have worked. Limbo is not the only Hong Kong film to take part in the Golden Horse Awards this year.

Lau Kok-rui’s “The Sunny Side of the Street,” has six nominations, including one for Anthony Wong Chau-sang, as best actor. Wong, a character actor with a long pedigree in Hong Kong movies, has identified himself with Hong Kong’s own pro-democracy movement and is believed to have left the city.

“The Narrow Road” is nominated in four categories. It is directed by Lam Sum, who co-directed Hong Kong protest drama “May You Stay Forever Young.”

The CEO of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Executive Committee Wen Tiang-hsien also announced that the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year Award goes to special effects specialist Chen Ming-ze, in honor of his contribution to the industry. “Chen was dedicated to the latest special effects knowledge, especially in explosions. He also established his own company to nurture new talents, delivering dazzling action scenes with utmost safety for execution,” organizers said. His input can be seen in this year’s “The Abandoned,” “Melody-Go-Round” and “Untouchable.”

All nominated films will be screened at the Golden Horse Film Festival, starting from Nov. 2, 2022. The 59th Golden Horse Awards Ceremony will be held on Nov. 19, 2022, at the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.