SINGAPORE - Home-grown actor Christopher Lee says he got emotional thanking his wife, Singaporean actress Fann Wong, in his acceptance speech because he knows how much she has given up for their family.
The 50-year-old nabbed Best Actor in a Mini-series or Television Film at the Golden Bell Awards held in Taipei on Saturday (Oct 2) for his performance in last year's series Workers.
He says in a post-win interview held with local media in the early hours of Sunday (Oct 3): "I know how much she sacrificed after giving birth - definitely more than me. She loves acting but for the sake of our son, she fully stepped into the role of being a mother and that has allowed me to go out and act with peace of mind."
Fann scaled back her acting following the birth of the couple's seven-year-old son Zed in 2014. She posted Instagram videos of their family of three celebrating Lee's win with breakfast at luxury hotel Marina Bay Sands on Sunday morning.
Lee was overjoyed to win but says it was "lonely" to be away from the rest of the cast of Workers, a HBO Asia series about a group of blue-collar labourers. He dialled into the Taipei awards show via video conference from Singapore. The last portion of his speech could not be heard as the audio was cut off in his call.
He says he had spent the time thanking the writer of the essay collection that Workers is based on. He also wanted to thank construction workers, whose stories were depicted in the series. "It is the hard work of construction workers everywhere that made this drama possible. They really contribute greatly to the progress of our society."
Workers was a big winner in the Mini-series category, nabbing awards for Lee and supporting actor Simon Hsueh, as well as for Best Mini-series and Best Director .
Many former colleagues of Lee - previously a Mediacorp actor - congratulated his win on social media, with stars like Sharon Au, Rebecca Lim, Dennis Chew and Cynthia Koh sending virtual well-wishes.
He says: "I left Mediacorp a long time ago but these friends are people I still keep in touch with. I'm very thankful to them for their kind words and congratulations and I hope I can work with them again soon."
Lee, now managed by Taiwanese talent agency Catwalk Asia, films heavily in Taiwan. He previously won Best Actor in a Drama Series at the Golden Bell Awards in 2014 for family drama A Good Wife. He can also be seen in the recent crime thriller Danger Zone opposite Vic Chou.
He will fly again to Taiwan for another acting project at the end of the year and is likely to start filming the movie adaptation of Workers come February. Lee, who is Teochew, will again have to speak in Taiyu, or the Southern Min dialect in the movie. Though he has played the role once, that will still be a challenge.
"Workers was only six episodes and we finished filming in two months. To really master Taiyu, one drama isn't enough, I probably need to do a few more series, or learn it for a few more years to actually sound like a native speaker."
The Golden Bell Awards was broadcast live on Hub E City (StarHub TV Channel 825) on Saturday. It will also be available to stream through StarHub TV+ from Oct 5.