TAIPEI - Hong Huifang is the first Singaporean actress to be nominated for Best Leading Actress at this year’s Golden Horse Awards for her role in upcoming local film Ajoomma.
It is the 61-year-old star’s first nomination at the annual Taiwan film awards.
She said in a statement: “2022 has been exceptionally fulfilling. We shot Ajoomma at the beginning of the year, the movie got selected for the upcoming Busan International Film Festival and now I received the prestigious Golden Horse nomination. I am very humbled.”
This is the Mediacorp veteran’s first lead role in a feature film, and she is up against Taiwanese actresses Sylvia Chang (A Light Never Goes Out) and Tsai Hsuan-yen (Incantation), Hong Kong model-actress Angela Yuen (The Narrow Road) and Chinese actress Cya Liu (Limbo).
The nominations were announced on Tuesday, and the awards ceremony takes place on Nov 19.
Ajoomma is up for four awards in total, including Best Supporting Actor for Jung Dong-hwan and Best New Director for local writer-director He Shuming.
Ajoomma is He’s feature directorial debut and he also scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay alongside his co-writer Kris Ong.
He said: “I’m speechless still. It’s been six years of hard work and we couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people around us. I’m so happy for Huifang and Mr Jung - such deserving nominations.”
The movie follows the story of a middle-aged, Korean drama-obsessed Singaporean housewife (Hong) who has dedicated the best years of her life to caring for her family.
Now widowed and with her grown-up son (local actor Shane Pow) about to fly the coop, she is left to contend with a whole new identity beyond her roles of wife and mother.
A solo trip to South Korea proves to be a wild adventure, during which unlikely bonds are formed.
The Singapore-South Korean co-production, which opens here on Oct 27, also stars Korean actors Kang Hyung-suk and Yeo Jin-goo. It will hold its world premiere on Oct 7 at the Busan International Film Festival.
Ajoomma is produced by Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen, who made history at the Golden Horse Awards in 2013 with his debut feature film Ilo Ilo by becoming the first Singaporean to win Best Film and Best New Director.
Chen also won Best Original Screenplay, while Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.
Yeo went on to win Best Leading Actress in another of Chen’s movies, Wet Season, in 2019.
For her role in the Jack Neo-directed Homerun (2003), former child star Megan Zheng, then 10 years old, became the first Singaporean to win a Golden Horse Award, for Best New Performer.
If Hong takes home the big prize, she will be the first Singaporean to win Best Leading Actress.
However, in an interview with entertainment portal 8world shortly after the nominations were announced, she confessed that she did not think she would stand a chance against screen legend Chang, who has been her idol since she was young. Chang has been nominated 10 times in that category and won twice.
Hong said: “The most important thing is that I was nominated. It is already a huge encouragement and an honour. Personally speaking, I’m already very satisfied.”