Taiwanese director Leon Dai’s No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (pictured) took four of the top prizes at the 46th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan (November 28), including best picture, best director, best original screenplay and Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year. 

Earlier in the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, which accompanies the awards, the film was voted as the audience favourite. It had also scooped four prizes at the Taipei Film Festival in July this year, and took the grand prize at Japan’s Skip City International D-Cinema Festival.

Held this year on the outskirts of Taipei, the Golden Horse Awards is generally seen as the most prestigious film honours in the Chinese-speaking world.

Despite the success of No Puedo, mainland Chinese films and co-productions took the largest number of awards – winning ten of the 20 award categories –  reflecting the growing strength of the mainland film industry. For the first time, the three-hour show was broadcast on mainland China’s state-owned CCTV6 Movie Channel, reaching an estimated audience of 1.1 billion across China.

Cheung King-wai’s documentary KJ: Music And Life, about a Hong Kong music prodigy, stood out as the dark horse in the race, winning awards in its all three nominated categories: best documentary, best film editing and best sound effects. 

Chinese filmmaker Guan Hu’s Cow, Chen Kaige’s Forever Enthralled and Tsai Ming-liang’s Face each won in two award categories.

For the first time in the history of Golden Horse awards, the best actor prize was split between two actors – Nick Cheung forHong Kong action thriller The Beast Stalker and Huang Bo for Cow.

Cheung’s portrayal of a ruthless killer has previously won him best actor from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards and the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

In Cow, Huang Bo plays a strong-willed peasant during the second world war who develops a co-dependent relationship with a milk cow in order to survive.

The best actress title went to Li Bingbing for playing an elegant telegram decoder in suspense thriller The Message. The best supporting actress title went to Wai Ying-hung in Malaysia-Hong Kong-South Korea co-production At The End Of Daybreak, directed by Malaysia’ Ho Yuhang, while best supporting actor went to Wang Xueqi for Chen’s Forever Enthralled.

The Golden Horse Awards is part of the 2009 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, which ran November 5-26. This year the festival showcased 200 films with a record-breaking $463,965 (NT$15m) box office result, a 15% increase from the ticket sales in 2008.

The festival also presented to international awards: the FIPRESCI Award went to Taiwanese director Cheng Yu-chieh’s Yang Yang, while the NETPAC award went to  Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly from Indonesian filmmaker Edwin.

Full list of Golden Horse 2009 award winners:

Best Feature Film: No Pudeo Vivir Sin Ti – Luminoso Film, Partyzoo Film

Best Director: Leon Dai – No Pudeo Vivir Sin Ti

Best Leading Actor: Nick Cheung – The Beast Stalker / Huang Bo – Cow

Best Leading Actress: Li Bingbing – The Message

Best Supporting Actor: Wang Xueqi – Forever Enthralled

Best Supporting Actress: Wai Ying Hung – At The End Of Daybreak

Best New Performer: Yu Shaoqun – Forever Enthralled

Best Original Screenplay: Leon Dai, Chen Wen-Pin – No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti

Best Screenplay Adaptation: Guan Hu – Cow

Best Cinematography: Cao Yu – City Of Life And Death

Best Visual Effects: Wang Jianxiong, Jimmy Chen, Li Liping – Crazy Racer

Best Art Direction: Lee Tian Jue, Patrick Dechesne, Alain-Pascal Housiaux – Face

Best Makeup & Costume Design: Christian Lacroix, Wang Chia Hui, Anne Dunsford – Face

Best Action Choreography: Sammo Hung, Leung Siu-hung – Ip Man

Best Film Editing: Cheung King Wai – KJ: Music And Life

Best Sound Effects: Cheung King Wai – KJ: Music And Life

Best Original Film Score: Dou Wei, Bi Xiao Di – The Equation Of Love and Death

Best Original Film Song: Death Dowry

Best Documentary: KJ: Music And Life – CNEX Foundation Limited

Best Short Film: Sleeping With Her – Chih Yi Wen

Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year: No Pudeo Vivir Sin Ti

Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Lee Lung-Yue