Alternative awards

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2012-3-4 22:05:00

Cecilia Cheung. Photos: CFP


While many Chinese actors, actresses and directors eagerly anticipate an invitation to the Oscars, few would relish the idea of receiving an invitation to the Golden Broom Awards, the equivalent of the Golden Razzie Awards in America.

The 3rd Golden Broom Awards took place Saturday afternoon, doling out 13 Golden Brooms in total. Lacking in attendance at the award ceremony were movie stars.

Famous mainland actor Sun Honglei was awarded the most disappointing actor for his character as renowned ancient strategist Sun Bin in The Warring States. A-list Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung won the most disappointing actress for both her performances in Legendary Amazons and Treasure Hunt.

The Warring States, Legendary Amazons and The Lost Bladesman were named the most disappointing movies of 2011; Gao Xiaosong (director of My Kingdom) and Frankie Chan (director of Legendary Amazons) won most disappointing directors.


The Flowers of War, nominated at the Golden Globes, was given a special jury's version of "the most disappointing movie" award.

Thus far, no winners have ever appeared in person to collect their awards.

Real results

"The Chinese movie industry is developing very fast these years, but this progress is marked by number rather than quality," said Cheng Qingsong, chief editor of Youth Film Handbook magazine, the editorial responsible for the annual Golden Broom Awards.

Cheng explains that in recent years, Chinese audiences are lured into seeing films by effective publicity coupled with advertising. Audience members go into a movie with high expectations, only to walk out without having their expecations met.

"Audience members should be more selective in what they view. High box office revenues is not parallel with quality films," said Cheng.

 The Golden Broom Awards' jury panel consists of not only professional movie critics but regular moviegoers. Each year, Youth Film Handbook compiles a list of candidates and releases them on websites like, and

Interested moviegoers vote on any of these websites, and the films, actors, actresses and directors receiving the most votes are nominated. Around 30 movie critics are then rallied to vote for the final winners.

"The regular audience is most directly affected by movies, so their opinions are important," Cheng told the Global Times. To avoid any possible foul play on the Internet, the final results are decided by a panel of experts.



Sun Honglei. Photos: CFP

Criticism of the 'awards'

Some fail to view the awards in a light hearted manner. Acclaimed director Feng Xiaogang is among those who fail to find the awards entertaining.

After discovering that his film, If You Are the One II was voted one of the worst movies of 2010 and that he simultaneously received the title of the most disappointing director, Feng responded two days later on his Sina Weibo, or microblog.

Feng posted that his goal was "to achieve the most disappointing movies in the following 10 years" and he hoped "to not make the best, but the worst films."

Feng is not alone in criticizing the Golden Brooms, Lu Jian, anchor of China Central Television (CCTV), expressed his disdain after last year's awards.

"The Golden Brooms aim to inform the public of bad films, but the lack of professionalism and objectivity in their decision process makes their opinions a joke," Lu wrote on his Sina Weibo.

"[Two of this year's most hyped films,] Confucius and If You Are the One II were voted as the most disappointing movies. The Golden Broom Awards are seeking attention in targeting such acclaimed features."

Though Lu later apologized for a few profane comments he posted, he said his opinion about the Golden Brooms remained the same.

In lieu of the criticism, Cheng remains unflappable in the integrity of the organization. He told the Global Times days before this year's award ceremony that the Golden Brooms decisions are not reached by a panel of experts. Instead, the votes are tallied by a general demographic.

"These awards represent the general audience," Cheng said. "As it should be, since movies are not made for professional critics but for normal people."

Growing Reputation

Culture critic Xie Xizhang, third time jury member of the Golden Brooms, is optimistic about the future of the organization. "Some people in the industry, like director Feng Xiaogang, oppose this award because they misinterpret it," Xie told the Global Times last Saturday evening.

Xie believes if opponents of the awards view it as an alternative way to gauge audience reception, their opinions would differ.

"The awards weren't created to be scandalous. Having an opposing voice is necessary for the development of a healthy movie industry. Independent institutions need to take on this role," said Xie.

Over the past three years, the Golden Broom Awards have gotten significantly wider recognition, both among netizens and movie stars.

"In the first year, only 10,000 netizens participated in the voting. This year, over 200,000 participated," said Xie. "No winners said they would attend the ceremony last year, but this year, some people expressed their willingness to come."

When Taiwanese actor Richie Jen discovered that he had been nominated as one of the year's worst actors, he said he would receive the award in person if he won.

"This award is a reminder to me that I need to be cautious," Jen said.                  


As for why The Flowers of War was awarded a special prize, Xie explained that while the film was cinematically beautiful, it perpetuated problematic values and stereotypes.

Xie cites the example in which prostitutes sacrifice their lives for a group of female students. This hints at the notion that the life of a prostitute is somehow less valuable, stigmatizing those involved in prostitution. The film glamorizes and eroticizes a serious topic.


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