From Ah boys to Flame Awards nominees

Yes, we know we always have a Dude of the Year category for our annual Flame Awards.

But considering the Ah Boys' domination of local entertainment this year, we thought we might as well pick the best of this group.

They helped make local director Jack Neo's two-part Ah Boys To Men films the biggest local box office performers, with the second movie making $7.9 million while the first raked in $6.18 million.

Its stars went on to appear everywhere, from beauty and burger ads to regional cruises.

But which Ah Boy is the best?

Joshua Tan - Can this 'part-timer' win?

If we gave subsidiary awards, Joshua Tan would win Best Ah Boy Bod of the Year, for sure.

Living up to both his lead character status in the Ah Boys To Men movies and his Cleo's Most Eligible Bachelor title, Tan is a bona fide hunk.

Pictures of his washboard abs have been flying around the Internet since he shot ads for spa and skincare specialist Beaute Hub earlier this year.

But with that disarming smile and an endorsement deal with traditional pastry shop Thye Moh Chan, he is also the kind of guy you (I, we, all of us girls) would love to bring home to mum.

So we are surprised that the 23-year-old is surprised he has been nominated.

"Honestly, I'm quite shocked. I haven't been around in Singapore much this past year and whenever I'm back, it's usually just for work. Then I head straight back to Melbourne for school," he told The New Paper via e-mail.

Tan is pursuing a degree in journalism and communication at Monash University.

KSSING SCENE

In the meantime, there is a Chinese New Year telemovie, Hongbaos And Kisses, to look forward to, for which Tan shot his first kissing scene with co-star Felicia Chin.

His movie career was set to soar with a lead in a movie shot in the Philippines, but that has since been put on hold due to Typhoon Haiyan.

Jteam, the Ah Boys' management company, is arranging "a few upcoming projects" as well, so Tan will be busy all the way until he graduates in June.

"If this is how my part-time career is panning out, I can't wait to fully focus on this full-time come July next year," he said.

As he likes to say, busy is good, but even he thinks he has not been busy enough to grab this title from his fellow Ah Boy nominees Tosh Zhang and Wang Weiliang.

"They've had a lot more exposure than me after the movies and they are really doing well. I'm so proud of them," he said. "I don't think my time has really come yet, probably after I'm done with my studies next year.

"Part-timer how to win award one? Haha."

Wang Weiliang - 'Ah Beng' has his edge

He may not have Joshua Tan's looks or Tosh Zhang's social-media savvy, but Wang Weiliang could possibly be the Ah Boy to beat in this category.

We have seen the Weiliang fandom with our own eyes. At the TNP Ah Boys Party in March, girls looked like they were going to faint when they saw the Lobang King, who left everyone in stitches with his Hokkien and Mandarin jokes.

Now, the 26-year-old is a true star with a Burger King endorsement deal under his belt - you have probably seen the ads he appears in with Zhang at bus stops - and a spot at this year's National Day Parade show.

But he is still the rough-around-the-edges, Hokkien-spouting "Ah Beng" that his fans fell in love with.

His awkward, formal message of thanks for the nomination in an e-mail to The New Paper - "I thank the organising committee" - cracked us up.

And he was straight to the point about his chances. He told us in Mandarin: "I am sandwiched between Josh and Tosh. What do you think I should feel? Haha."

Then he went on a bit of a soliloquy.

"I feel that Tosh should win because he's extremely popular," he said.

"But I feel that this year it will be Joshua, because Tosh got it (Zhang won our Flame Awards' Breakout Star title) last year. "So if he gets it again this year, I feel like 'How can it be?'

"There's no reason why Tosh should get it every year. Like that nobody else should have a chance.

"So this year it should be Joshua."

All in the spirit of fairness, eh?

We sure hope he and Zhang will have buried the hatchet over this by the time their next Jack Neo movie, The Lion Men, is out during Chinese New Year.

Tosh Zhang - 'Recognised' again

The local vlogger-turned-Ah Boy received cupcakes from us last year for being our Breakout Star of the Year, beating leggy part-local K-pop group Skarf and Hot FM91.3 DJ Boy Thunder.

Now, the 24-year-old is up against his on-screen brothers in our first Ah Boys-only category.

GRATEFUL

"It feels good to be nominated at the Flame Awards again.

"I'm grateful for the love and support from my fans and also you guys at The New Paper for recognising my work," said Zhang.

Ah Boys To Men co-star Wang Weiliang has made his stance very clear - Tosh would likely win, but probably shouldn't, so that the Flame Awards "wealth" can be spread around more equally, specifically to Joshua Tan.

Not that Zhang, who played Ah Boys to Men's Sergeant Ong, does not deserve another trophy.

In addition to the Ah Boys' publicity appearances, he, Wang and Noah Yap have been busy training for and filming Jack Neo's The Lion Men, about a lion dance troupe.

Said Zhang: "I had to go through months of fitness, street dance, martial arts and lion dance training to prepare myself.

"It was an amazing learning experience as I had to not only act but also perform martial arts and dangerous stunts in fight scenes and action sequences."

He has already recorded The Lion Men theme song and featured in local rapper Shigga Shay's hit song LimPeh, which was No. 1 on iTunes back in June.

Despite Wang's confidence in him, Zhang said he has "no idea" whether he will win.

"Each of us has our own fan base and we excel in different areas," he said.

"Of course, whenever I'm involved in a competition I hope to win. But regardless whether I win or not, it's still a win for us Ah Boys as a whole because this award category was made specially for us."


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