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China has its own Golden Raspberry Awards

By Wei Xi (Global Times)

11:09, March 05, 2013

Key Words:Chinese film; Golden Raspberry Awards; critics
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It's always hard to accept criticism, especially when one is facing the public. For the Golden Raspberry Awards in the US, it took 16 years to have an award winner attend the ceremony. So, by that standard, Chinese film critic Cheng Qingsong and his Golden Broom Awards are doing much better. At only its 4th award ceremony, held Sunday in Beijing, two recipients showed up.

'The Lion Roars 2' big 'winner'

After a month of on-line voting (since January 9) and another round of judgment by professionals, the final list of winners of the 4th Golden Broom Awards was released Sunday, with both old and new faces.

Xiaoshenyang, disciple of famous short sketch performer Zhao Benshan, for the second time won a Broom for most disappointing actor, while actress Yang Mi became the new "queen."

After rising to national fame in a short sketch in 2009's CCTV Spring Festival Gala, Xiaoshenyang and his teacher Zhao began to step into the movie circle. But with his fixed and rigid acting style, Xiaoshenyang has seldom received good feedback from audiences.

Yang became known to the public through TV opera Gong and then became a high-yielding actress in movies.

Besides starring the most disappointing actor, The Lion Roars 2 also took in the most disappointing director and the most disappointing film.

Due to his analysis of the history, which was seen as too personal, his neglecting the audience's feelings, and the scandal of using a water army to boost on-line ratings, director Lu Chuan earned himself the other award for most disappointing director and his film, The Last Supper, received one of the most disappointing movie awards.

Also on Sunday, the Youth Film Handbook announced its choices for the top 10 Chinese movies of 2012, as well as annual best actor, best actress, best director, best new actor, etc.

Winning four major awards, including top 10 movies of 2012, best actress, best director, and best new actor, director Lou Ye's Mystery became this year's biggest winner.

The confidence to stand out

For three years, the Golden Broom Awards were in a questionable situation. While the number of on-line voting participants rose, there were still insiders with doubts, and no winner showed up for the awards. After winning three Brooms in 2011, famous Chinese director Feng Xiaogang joked that he was going to "take all the Golden Broom awards for the next 10 years."

Even before this year's ceremony, Cheng Qingsong, chief editor of Youth Film Handbook and major founder of the Golden Brooms, wrote on his Sina Weibo that if still no one came to receive the awards this year, he may consider giving it up the next year. But the result turned out quite encouraging to him. Joe Ma, the most disappointing director winner asked a colleague to attend for him, while Li Mingyang, producer of the most disappointing small- and mid- budget film, Cray Foolish Thievs ("Crazy Foolish Thieves" purposefully misspelled), came with a letter of self-criticism.

The anonymous woman who claimed to be Ma's colleague read Ma's acceptance speech: it said, "I am spurred on by (the award). I feel panic and have a sense of blame. At the same time, I cheer for the spirit behind it."

After reading his self-criticism letter, Li bowed to the audience for 10 seconds. In an interview with the Global Times after receiving the award, Li said that he was not surprised to win a Broom. "When we were discussing shooting Cray Foolish Thievs, the 3rd Golden Broom Awards were (being handed out), and I told my colleagues that if we win one, I will definitely fetch it," he said.

He admitted that when planning this movie, what they were most concerned with was how to make the money back for their investors, thinking little about the audience.

In response, Cheng Qingsong said, "We are not holding this award to bring shame on people. [We hope that] through this award, filmmakers and institutions can self-critique their creations."

"The people who gain the most is not us," Cheng added, "but the producers of Cray Foolish Thievs and director Ma, who recognize their mistakes and then rise up. I show my regards to them."

Golden Broom significance
In an entertainment article published in the Beijing News on Monday, critic Yu Dengqing wrote that when Cheng first came up with the Golden Broom Awards, it might have been meant to entertain and make fun, but the most important thing is that it provides a platform for critics.

"Now, movies are art but have also become a business. Even some movie critics have been commercialized… from actors, directors to producers, it seems more and more are unwilling to receive negative comments," he wrote. "However, rejecting a Golden Broom cannot reduce negative comments nor can it change the fact that he shot a bad movie. Dare to face the critics… at least it shows respect to the movie."

Liu Shibing, professor at Beijing Film Academy, agrees that platform for criticism is badly needed in today's society, for both audiences and filmmakers need a sober mind [separate] from the highly commercialized movie industry.

"Being given a Golden Broom does not mean [the movie, actor or director] is the worst," Liu told the Global Times in a phone interview on Monday.

"It is because the audience has a much higher expectation, but they failed to reach that."

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