Singapore film Ilo Ilo's Best Feature Film win at the Golden Horse awards is a sign the 50-year-old event is becoming truly inclusive and international, say Taiwanese media.
The film had surprised many with its wins on Saturday of not just the Best Feature Film, but also the Best Original Screenplay, Best New Director for Singaporean Anthony Chen and Best Supporting Actress for Yeo Yann Yann.
For the feature film prize, it beat illustrous contenders from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, including works by Tsai Ming-liang and Wong Kar Wai.
Many commentaries paid tribute to the 17-member jury, led by Oscar- winning Taiwanese director Lee Ang, for "daring" to break with the familiar and picking an outsider for the top prize based on merit.
"The (outcome), while a surprise, is the best rendition of the top honour in Chinese cinema," the United Daily News said in an editorial. "At this point in its history, the Golden Horse Awards has integrated the most representative communities of Chinese cinema from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore."
The China Times newspaper noted that besides Ilo Ilo's win, the Best Director prize went to the Malaysia-born Tsai, the Best Actress was China's Zhang Ziyi and the Best Supporting Actress was Malaysian Yeo Yann Yann.
"That the top prizes went to professionals from different Chinese-speaking regions shows that the Golden Horse is positioning itself as the paragon of Chinese cinema through greater inclusiveness and ambition," it said.
The movie has also caused a stir among Taiwanese even before its debut at the island's theatres on Friday. While many say they are keen to watch it, some say they are put off by director Chen's "rude" and "arrogant" acceptance speeches.
Several netizens post messages on Golden Horse's official Facebook page criticising Chen for "demeaning" his competitors by calling his winning screenplay "c**p" and ignoring time limits on the speeches.
Chen himself has apologised, saying he was just too excited. Numerous Singaporeans agreed. "The first Singaporean to win such a prestigious award. How can he not (be) nervous or excited?" wrote Ms Nataling Yap on the Golden Horse page.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.