Gangster and goofball win big

Gangster and goofball win big

Sunday night's Star Awards marked the first time that Shaun Chen, 36, won an acting award in his 13 years in show business.

He and Rebecca Lim were crowned Best Actor and Best Actress at MediaCorp's annual event celebrating the best of local Chinese-language television.

The Malaysia-born Chen said later: "I was so stressed over the past week that I grew three pimples. Now my pimples will go away."

He received the accolade for his role as a kindhearted gangster in the period drama The Journey: Tumultuous Times.

The top acting award was also a first for Lim, 28. She was surprised to win the award for her performance as a goofball in the family drama Yes We Can.

"I've been in show business for 10 years, but many people think that I'm still a rookie. I'm usually cast in more serious roles. I'm glad the judges felt that my lively role was refreshing," she said.

It is clearly a good time in the star's career, given that she had won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Dream Makers (2013) last year.

Chen and Lim were also voted by fans into the Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes lists.

The Star Awards, in its 21st edition, was held at the TV station's long-time home on Caldecott Hill for the last time before the broadcaster moves to Buona Vista.

Another long-awaited win went to Thai-born host Pornsak Prajakwit, 33.

After many nominations in the last five years for Best Variety Show Host, he nabbed it for the first time, for The Joy Truck 2, a heartwarming programme about volunteers helping the under- privileged.

Pleased to have finally received "professional recognition", he said: "I had harboured hope of winning every year. I had prepared my thank-you speech for years. All I had to do was change the name of the programme (I was nominated for)."

He also seized the opportunity to give feedback to MediaCorp, asking the company to give more support to hosts.

"Plastered on the walls along the red carpet are the faces of drama actors. I hope the company will give us hosts a little more support.

"Oh no, after saying this I probably won't get an award next year. Hosts do work very hard. The effort that the hosts put into our work is comparable to those of actors in dramas."

Meanwhile, epic period drama The Journey: The Tumultuous Times took home the biggest show award, for Best Drama Serial. The series' supporting cast members, seasoned actor Chen Hanwei and yummy mummy-to-be Joanne Peh also collected awards for Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.

Peh's win was met with some disbelief, given that she appeared in only two episodes.

She defended her win, pointing out that her role as a Peranakan woman was a continuation from the show's preceding instalment The Journey: A Voyage.

Backstage, she said: "This character went from The Journey: A Voyage to Tumultuous Times, so she's not someone viewers are unfamiliar with. I was quite confident of my performance and I'm happy to have played this wonderful role."

Taking the Best Newcomer award was Aloysius Pang, 24, who is one of the eight young male stars that MediaCorp promotes as the Eight Dukes.

Over the past year, he impressed audiences with his performance in Against The Tide as a troubled young man who murders several people.

Tearing up, he told reporters after his win: "I've never really done anything to make my parents proud. During my school days, whenever I went onstage was to be reprimanded by teachers or punished. I hope I can make them proud now."

nggwen@sph.com.sg yipwy@sph.com.sg

Soundbites

My husband completes me. My award is just icing on the cake."

-Joanne Peh

"Lots of people had a lot to say about my behaviour last week. I have never been one to talk very much. (Pretends to laugh) This, I know, is not my forte. If I had inconvenienced anyone last week, I hope that everyone will forgive me for it."

Rui En, in response to last week's brouhaha over her apparent "black face" at Star Awards Show 1 on April 19

"How can I say that I'm not satisfied with my daughter's designs? She is standing right there (laughs). But seriously, she took about a month to work on the outfits and I had vetoed many looks because she had designed them for supermodels. Her designs on paper did not match the person in reality."

Quan Yi Fong, whose daughter Eleanor Lee designed three looks for her for the night

"Shaun Chen, come and touch my black rose brooch for luck. If you do not win later tonight, I will quit."

Chen Hanwei, Best Supporting Actor, hoping that Shaun Chen would win Best Actor

"I got a shock when I heard that. If I didn't win the award, I would have to support Hanwei for life. The company would have to give me a higher pay so that I can support him."

Shaun Chen, Best Actor, on good pal and actor Chen Hanwei's vow to quit if he did not win.

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