TAIPEI - Hong Kong comedy legend Michael Hui is up for his first Golden Horse award in 38 years after a Taiwanese movie he stars in swept nominations for Taiwan's Chinese cinema awards on Saturday.
Godspeed, a road movie-cum-crime caper by Taiwan's Chung Mong-hong, took eight nominations, including for Best Feature Film, Best Director and Best Leading Actor for Hui and Supporting Actor for Taiwan TV host Na Dow.
It is the first Taiwanese movie for Hui, who is best known for his Cantonese comedies of the 1970s and '80s with his brothers Sam and Ricky. He plays a cab driver who picks up a drug mule (Na Dow).
The 74-year-old, who was last nominated for a Golden Horse award for The Contract in 1978, urged young people, "I believe you have more time to work hard."
In a career turnaround for Kai Ko following his 2014 drug arrest, the Taiwan star was named for Best Leading Actor for his role as an illegal Myanmar migrant in Thailand in the romance The Road To Mandalay, also a Best Feature Film nominee.
It was his comeback role after his drug arrest and he spent a year in Myanmar with Myanmar-born Taiwanese director Midi Z and worked in a factory to prepare for his role, according to reports.
Ko, 25, who won a Best New Performer award at the 2011 Golden Horse ceremony for You Are The Apple Of My Eye, told Apple Daily last Saturday that the nominations made the hard work on the set for everyone worth it.
He and Hui are competing with Hong Kong A-listers Tony Leung Ka Fai (Cold War 2) and Jacky Cheung (Heaven In The Dark), and also with Chinese actor Fan Wei (Mr No Problem).
The other films contending for best film were the Johnnie To- produced thriller Trivisa, Feng Xiaogang's I Am Not Madame Bovary and first-time Chinese director Zhang Dalei's The Summer Is Gone.
Fresh from her acting win at the the San Sebastian film festival for her role in I Am Not Madame Bovary, Chinese star Fan Bingbing was nominated for Best Leading Actress for the same film. She has a competitor in Taiwan actress Wu Ke-Xi, who plays Ko's love interest in The Road To Mandalay.
Also in the same category were Chinese actresses Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun of Soul Mate, a romance by Derek Tsang, the son of Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang.
In all, Soul Mate took seven nominations, including Best Original Film Song for Leah Dou, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter daughter of pop diva Faye Wong.
Eric Tsang scored a supporting actor nod for his role as an estranged father in the Hong Kong movie, Mad World. He is up against another Hong Kong veteran, Paul Chin Pei, who is named for Book Of Love.
The awards will be handed out on Nov 26 in Taipei.
Nominations in major categories
Best Feature Film: Godspeed, Trivisa, I Am Not Madame Bovary, The Road To Mandalay, The Summer Is Gone
Best Director: Chung Mong-hong (Godspeed), Johnnie To (Three), Feng Xiaogang (I Am Not Madame Bovary), Derek Tsang (Soul Mate), Midi Z (The Road To Mandalay)
Best Leading Actor: Tony Leung Ka Fai (Cold War 2), Michael Hui (Godspeed), Jacky Cheung (Heaven In The Dark), Fan Wei (Mr No Problem), Kai Ko (The Road To Mandalay)
Best Leading Actress: Hsu Wei-ning (The Tag-Along), Fan Bingbing (I Am Not Madame Bovary), Zhou Dongyu (Soul Mate), Ma Sichun (Soul Mate), Wu Ke-xi (The Road To Mandalay)