Teenage actor Vicky Chen beat movie veterans to win the best supporting actress award at the Golden Horse awards – known as the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars – in Taipei on Saturday.
Fourteen-year-old Chen earned the award for her role in Taiwanese director Yang Ya-che’s thriller The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful, which also won the best film award that night.
In it, Chen plays the daughter in a powerful, scheming family.
“I am very fortunate,” Chen told the crowd. “I want to thank the director ... and the production crew who encouraged, supported and cared about me.”
Chen was also nominated for the best actress award for her role in Chinese filmmaker Vivian Qu’s drama Angels Wear White, making history as the youngest-ever nominee for the award.
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In the film, Chen plays a runaway who witnesses the sexual assault of two young girls and is torn between her conscience and saving her job by keeping quiet.
In the end, the best actress award went to Chen’s co-star in The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful, Hong Kong actor Kara Wai, for her role as the fierce matriarch of the family in the film.
Wai thanked Chen in her acceptance speech.
“I want to thank my daughters [in the film] Vicky Chen and Wu Ke-xi. I couldn’t have played the role so well without you,” Wai said after receiving the statuette from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and Hollywood star Jessica Chastain.
Taiwanese media have called Chen a “prodigy” able to play complex characters in movies that tackle a range of difficult subjects.
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Chen described both roles as “very challenging”.
“I wanted to try them out, even though I felt nervous,” Chen said in an interview.
“I am very young so there are some things I don’t understand. I rely on communicating with my seniors, other actors and the director about any questions I have over the script.”
Chen’s acting career began four years ago when she was cast in a film on the mainland. She appeared in a number of movies and TV dramas before landing a lead role in Angels Wear White, which competed at this year’s Venice film festival.
“I like acting because I feel very happy and accomplished after finishing a scene,” she said.