China’s government-backed Golden Rooster Awards honored Oscar-winning drama “The Father” with the event’s first-ever prize for best international film in the coastal city of Xiamen on Thursday.
Beijing hopes that its star-studded awards ceremony can rival and surpass the Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, once known as the “Oscars of Asia” for Chinese-language content. This year, the Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, which kicked off Tuesday, added the international film competition category for the first time.
This year’s 34th iteration honors films screened theatrically in China between July 1, 2020 and July 15, 2021.
“The Father” beat out animation “Wolfwalkers,” World War II drama “Persian Lessons,” Italy’s live-action “Pinocchio” and the Thai drama “Happy Old Year.” The film grossed $4.14 million in China in June — nearly double the $2.12 million it earned in the U.S.
Veteran helmer Zhang Yimou was the most decorated of this year’s ceremony, with his two films “Cliff Walkers” and “One Second” bringing home four of the top prizes.
Zhang won best director for his work on spy thriller “Cliff Walkers,” which also netted a best actor win for his lead, Zhang Yi. Beijing had selected the film as this year’s submission to the Academy Awards. The director’s Cultural Revolution-set “One Second” won best supporting actor (Fan Wei) and best sound.
The prize for best feature film went to jingoistic local drama “Island Keeper,” a film created as an ode to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist party based on the real-life story of a couple who face hardships to guard China’s coastline. Fellow 100th anniversary title “1921” took home gold with best screenplay.
Zhang Xiaofei won best actress for her work as the titular mom in the Chinese New Year hit “Hi, Mom,” while Zhu Yuanyuan won best supporting actress for her work in family drama “My Sister.”