Chinese films once dominated Golden Horse nominations but last year and this year saw just two films from the mainland in the running for best documentary and best animated short film.
According to organisers, more than 200 Chinese and Hong Kong films were submitted for competition this year, although film industry sources say they were mostly independent productions unlikely to hit theatres.
Analysts say mainstream Chinese cinema stayed away for fear of repercussions.
“For mega-production Chinese commercial movies, submitting to the Golden Horse awards can be courting trouble,” Wonder Weng, from the Taiwan Film Critics Society, told AFP.
Weng added that the Golden Roosters – the mainland’s own premier film awards – was being held this year on the same night as the Golden Horse bash.
“This apparently sends a message that there is a rivalry,” he said.
Golden Horse continues to nominate the kind of films that would never get past China’s censors.
This year two Hong Kong films that explore the city’s 2019 protests, as well as a Chinese documentary about Tibet, are nominated.
A Chinese animation seen as a metaphor for Hong Kong’s unrest and Beijing’s authoritarian rule has also been given a nod.
China has imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, once a thriving cinema hub, to crush dissent, and new mainland-style political censorship rules have been introduced for films.
In one recent example, authorities blocked the screening of Taiwanese short film Piglet Piglet unless scenes relating to the island’s 2020 elections were removed, which the director refused.
Source: Channel News Asia