PETALING JAYA - Actress Yeo Yann Yann and film director Tsai Ming Liang made Malaysians proud with their wins at Taiwan's prestigious 50th Golden Horse Awards held in Taipei on Saturday night.
Yeo, 36, clinched the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as a pregnant mother in Singaporean flick Ilo Ilo, which also walked away with the best feature film, as well as best new director and best original screenplay awards for Singaporean first-time filmmaker Anthony Chen.
In a message posted on his Facebook page Ah Jib Gor yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak congratulated Yeo and Tsai.
"There are a lot of capable people in Malaysia's entertainment industry. Many artistes have gained international fame and many of those who work behind the scenes have also received awards in other parts of the world," he said.
He said the Government always encouraged the creative industry, adding that he hoped Malaysian artistes and movie makers would continue to shine overseas.
At the award presentation, cradling her trophy presented to her by Hong Kong artiste Aaron Kwok and Taiwan's Sylvia Chang, Yeo pointed to it ecstatically and said, "This is real," before expressing her gratitude to Ilo Ilo's cast and crew as well as her family members in her emotional thank-you speech.
She said she was still feeling heady and ecstatic over her win.
"It still feels like I'm dreaming. The Golden Horse is the biggest award for Chinese cinema and it's a prestigious event that I have been following since childhood.
"So, I'm thankful and honoured to walk on the red carpet and stand on the stage, and twice even. It's a magical journey that I will never forget," said the petite actress of her first Golden Horse award yesterday.
Also for her role in Ilo Ilo, Yeo won the Silver Gateway of India award for Best Actress at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival in October and best actress award at the 11th Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, in September.
Having already bagged the much-coveted Camera d'Or (awarded to the best debut feature film) in Cannes in May, the film has been selected as Singapore's entry to the foreign language category in the Oscars.
The 56-year-old Tsai added another feather in his cap when he was named the best director for Stray Dogs, which also won the best leading actor award for Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng, who has starred in all of Tsai's feature-length films.
Stray Dogs, said to be the Kuching-born Taiwan-based director's final feature film, had already won the Grand Jury Prize at the 70th Venice Film Festival earlier this year.
Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster bagged five wins: the best leading actress (Zhang Ziyi), best cinematography, best art direction, best visual effects, best makeup/costume design and the Audience Choice Award.