The 2011 Golden Bell Awards Turns into a Night of Upsets

Taiwan’s top television gala The Golden Bell Awards held it’s ceremony last Friday night in Taipei. I haven’t been following along since, for the most part, I didn’t watch most of the dramas or performances nominated. I didn’t really care who won, as long as the winner was deserving, but I remained casually rooting for Joseph Chang to win Best Actor and Sonia Sui to win Best Actress. The awards ceremony ended up being wayyyyyy more memorable for the number of upsets and the shit that happened behind-the-scenes than anyone caring about who won.

Tian Xin won Best Actress over Sonia’s widely-lauded performance in The Fierce Wife, and in the biggest upset of the century (this one beats out Mark Chao winning over Vic Zhou in 2009), Wilbur Pan beat four other Best Actor contenders for his performance in Endless Love. I have been headdesking all weekend, and so has the Taiwan media and netizens, where the upsets are being diced and sliced for its ridiculousness.

I honestly wasn’t expecting Joseph to win, because Drunken to Love You was ultimately a fluffy idol drama that dragged towards the end and involved lots of pratfalls and silliness galore. Joseph and his DTLY co-star Rainie Yang first presented the award for Best Actress. Then came the Best Actor award, where afterwards Rainie consoled Joseph on losing. I think Joseph’s loss was not all that surprising, but losing it to Wilbur is what makes the loss bizarre and incomprehensible.

I think the loss by pretty much the entire cast of The Fierce Wife was the biggest collective face palm of the night. The only winner from that cast was Amanda Zhu in the Best Supporting Actress category, which was well-earned. Everyone else got shafted so bad the producers of TFW chewed out the Academy that very night. Ouch.

Sonia was so upset she visibly cried at the SETTV party afterwards. But it was partially because the girl had a triple whammy of a bad awards night. She started the night posing with James on the red carpet for the media, where she showed so much leg she actually showed something else. And it was captured by cameras and immediately became infamous.

Next she lost her award, but then had to get it together to go onstage immediately afterwards to present the award for Best Actor. When she opened the envelope and saw Wilbur’s name, apparently when the camera cut away Sonia was so shocked she visibly rolled her eyes on stage and said “I don’t believe this” out loud. Wilbur was in China so didn’t show up to accept the award in person, mostly because no one expected him to win, including himself. Anyways, so Sonia really had a rough night, and some anonymous Academy fogey leaked to the media that Sonia lost her award because she was so high profile and with all the media and fans expecting her to win, it created a backlash with the Academy voters. Uhm…..okay……what a bunch of bullshit.

I’ve never taken The Golden Bells (or any awards show) seriously as any validation of merit. It’s nice if you win, doesn’t matter if you lose. But this year’s Golden Bells were just egregious and unfathomable. James Wen has become the Susan Lucci of the Golden Bells, this year being the 4th year in a row he’s been nominated for an award, and the 4th successive year he’s lost. I’m glad he and Sonia were there to comfort each other. DTLY and TFW gave both sets of lead actors priceless name-recognition, so I say it’s fine for them to give a collective middle finger to 2011 Golden Bells and call it a night.


The 2011 Golden Bell Awards Turns into a Night of Upsets — 58 Comments

  1. how is the voting system in Taiwan? Is it anything like the voting system in the U.S.?
    (like i’d know :P) But is it really an unfair system? They should just be humbled enough to get nominated though.

    • I’m not sure either. Frankly, I didn’t even know there was a voting system!! -.- lol. i feel so sad for james wen and sonia sui. they are really the most serious taiwanese actors I know. i have nothing against idol actors and acknowledge their efforts, but c’mon! are taiwanese voters that easily swayed by an actor’s popularity versus an actor’s substance?

  2. This is not connected to the awards, I was just browsing through the pictures… and I just had to say that I am amazed that Rainie Yang’s zipper and the ends are showing (like it was a makeshift dress made at the last minute, IMO!)and that woman in black in the other picture is showing off more than her leg (Is that her cr*tch?!)when she parted her slit!

  3. thanks for the recap
    i personally thought sonia did a nice job…so she should have won!
    as for james wen, hope he wins next yr
    i’m surprised joseph didn’t win since DTLY was so popular

  4. Haha I posted in the other Golden Bell Award post on the results..but I was so disappointed for TFW who went in with the most noms and walked away with only Amanda’s! I can’t believe that I was right that Amanda turned out to be a bigger lock than Sonia’s…

    I didn’t watch the Tian Xin or Will’s drama, so I can’t say they did/didn’t deserve. But they must have done a HECK of a job to beat James and Sonia. And that’s a bit hard to believe.

    Being the favorite works against you? Doesn’t that just indirectly admit to the awards not being about the performance??!??!

  5. I’m kinda hesitant to being sympathetic to Sonia. Sure she gave a great performance but who knows? Maybe Tian Xin’s performance was great as well. And as an actress she definitely should have been more professional. Winning or losing, it comes with the job. Wasn’t it a while ago that she said that she didn’t care if she won the golden bell…uhhh right.

    And that dress! Good grief! I knew that situation was going to happen one day. Those high slit dresses can be tricky and they finally showed why underwear IS A MUST!

  6. woah…i dont actually follow the happening of the T-entertainment industry much but this sounds pretty outrageous….a lot of folks i know were seriously rooting for Sonia…really sucky night for her..and damn that is some awful wardrobe malfunction O__O

  7. lol. I see vagina. Oh my gosh. I swear that the picture of the girl in black standing with her dress open , I can see vagina.

  8. I guess Sonia was still wearing underwear like a thong. No? Am I the only one who didn’t root for Sonia? I think she’s overrated for her performance in The Fierce Wife. And she had a bad attitude about losing. What made her think she’d definitely win? Oh I know she just couldn’t help revealing her real feelings. Doesn’t it show she was kinda arrogant deep inside? However, after the ceremony, I have sympathy for her, still not admiration though. BTW, I’m Taiwanese.

  9. Oh god, poor Sonia. I love that girl, so I feel double the secondhand embarrassment for her terrible wardrobe malfunction. Dear me.

    Tian Xin was lovely in Who’s the One (I assume that’s what she won the award for?) but I hardly think it could be compared to Sonia’s starring turn in The Fierce Wife; it’s absolute BS that she supposedly lost out because she was the favourite to win. Really, Academy voters, really? That’s the best you could come up with? And I totally disagree with previous comments that she had a “bad attitude” regarding the loss – what’s so offensive and rude about bursting into tears when she didn’t win the award? Being upset that you didn’t win =/= arrogance. If she had publicly declared disgust at Tian Xin winning instead of her, THEN it would’ve been arrogant. You can’t really blame her for wanting the award; is there anyone out there who doesn’t want to win and likes losing? Seriously.

    On the upside, at least she had James Wen on her arm?

  10. I watched Endless Love and Fierce Wife from the beginning to the end and I would say that Will definitely did excellently in portraying his role in the drama . I definitely prefer his acting than James character in Fierce Wife . Will improves so much and he emoted convincingly whether it’s angst or crying scenes. he definitely nailed it, so I’m not surprised that he won the award .

    • however , I was really surprised that Tian Xin got the best actress instead of Sonia coz Sonia’s performance is like heaps much better than Tian Xin’s . I may be biased right here coz I can’t finish Who’s The One because of the dull storyline. I’ve only watched 3 episodes of it and then I gave up. but seriously , for me Sonia should have won the award.

    • I agree on Wilbur doing an awesome acting job in Endless Love. He displayed a wide range of emotuion and his acting was so natural. I’m surprised it wasn’t popular and under-rated. Even the lead actress did an excellent job. Its lack of popularity may have been the reason why people did not have expectations of him winning.

      I didn’t watch the Fierce Wife, though, so cannot comment on James’s acting.

      • I am not quite sure what you’re watching but wibur acting was suck and he need to learn to speak chinese better, I have a hard time following him…i stop after 2nd episode….Angie Chai makes him win, period! One of her actor or actress must won every year…

    • I totally agree with you on this. this comment might came too late .. but I just happened to bought DVD box of Endless Love coz I thought the synopsis look good. I watched DWL too.. Joseph was good .. really good in DWL. But, you got to give Wilber Pan some credit. He did an excellent job in EL. So, I’m happy to know he won for this role.

  11. WOW – I was a bit shocked, I must admit. I saw both TX and Sonia’s dramas and a lot of their previous works as well. I respect both of them as actors, and am not a fan of either one of them. However, I do think Sonia’s performance in comparison to TX’s was better. I can understand backlash, but even me, who is totally not a fan of Sonia’s (in fact, I really didn’t like her at all when she first started out)… was impressed with her performance in TFW. Is it slightly overrated? I don’t know… maybe a little, but still her performance was good and better than anything else I’ve seen her in.

    James – well I don’t think he should have won for his performance… well truth is, I didn’t really think any of them were all that great. But there wasn’t all that much to work with. I think James can do better which is why I kinda didn’t want him to win for that.

    Poor Sonia – I still feel bad for her even as a non-fan. There’s a lot of emotions there and I’m sure it’s gotta hurt for her even if no one needs to win and it doesn’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things. Wardrobe malfunction – that really sucks… 🙁

  12. I watched Tian Xin’s drama and her acting was mediocre and nothing amazing. I think Sonia totally shits on her in terms of her role in TFW. She totally channeled her anger and sadness to me when I was watching her. Maybe next year…

  13. My three cents:

    I didn’t care who won Best Actor as long as it wasn’t Wilbur “NG-King Pan”. Him winning is like Zac Efron winning an Emmy one day *shudders*.

    I think Sonia was shafted because she was the frontrunner, even the Academy doofuses said so. I don’t think Tian Xin winning was an atrocity or she didn’t deserve it. More like Sonia lost the award.

    I thought Amanda’s win was deserving but an even bigger bitchslap to the cast of TFW, since the cast bonded so well BUT for Amanda. So the Academy was definitely making a point there in giving the award to Amanda and purposely not giving TFW awards in any other category. I can’t handle how petty it all is over there.

    I like that James, Sonia, and Joseph were sad to lose the award. I love how honest they are about their emotions. It sucks to lose, I hate it when actors pretend to be happy when it’s human nature to hope to win and then be sad to have it not come true.

  14. Dang, I’m so glad I didn’t put time into watching GB, or else my BP will rise through the roof. I actually really don’t care about any award ceremonies in TW. I think HK’s award ceremonies are more justifiable. And honestly, I’d rather hope one day these TW stars will rise their names into US award shows then I’ll be the happiest being in the world.

  15. Not only Sonia, the whole team was/is so high profile before and after the ceremony, which was/is annoying like hell. Remind you, they did claim it was so very unfair for them to lose in public. I watched them on TV saying things like that without shame. Show some respect to those who competing against you, will the TFW team?

  16. O_o Wow, an awkward night all-around. And I bet even Tian Xin and Wilbur Pan can’t even enjoy their awards with all this upset. Poor Sonia =(

  17. I didn’t watch most if the shows which Tian Xin and Wibur had starred in, so cannot comment if they deserved it. But it’s a shame that Sonia lost as she was really good in TFW. Have watched her in the crappy “PS Man”, she was wooden in it.
    Her next drama was “The happy times of that year” which she co-starred with James (he was nominated for this role during last year’s GBA) and she has improved a lot. James was also good in his role and I thought he deserved the nomination last year.
    I watched TFW because of Sonia-James pairing and Sonia has really proved her mettle in TFW, though I thought James was not as good as he was in “Happy Times”.

    About Wilbur winning, can only say congrats to him. Kinda feel sorry for him as he had to deal with the backlash for reasons that had nothing to do with him and he will be remembered for this GBA for all the wrong reasons.

  18. Oh, the backlash is getting even worse. Tian Xin had to give an interview where she swore on her dead grandmother’s honor (O___O) that she did not know her mentor was a judge on the Academy panel.

    Wilbur’s winning is getting horrific. Man should stay away from Taiwan for a few days. Apparently when his name was called, not only did Sonia lose it on stage as the presenter, all four other nominees literally looked frozen in shock and the camera had to pan away. Other than James and Joseph, another nominee is a respected veteran and he blasted the Golden Bells as “a piece of shit” award. Ouch….. Now I kinda feel bad for Wilbur cuz he really really didn’t think was going to win, I doubt he lobbied for it.

  19. It doesnt make sense to me on the popularity factor. TFW is extremely overrated in both storytelling and acting imo, I honestly see no absolutely award worthy acting there, strictly speaking. Amanda is very show stealing for my watch until her character went beyond nutso, nut i dun see the justice in awarding her one but not Sonia.. Sonia’s character screams award, and she did a fine job basing on what she’s given. However, even though i havent seen much of everything else, I have my doubts if this is THE best acting job in TWdramas.

    James, TFW was at the bottom of what i’ve seen him in, I think he’s atrocious in OG so far as well, coming off pervie and swarmy in the most simple characterization…..he was eye catching and promising in Happy Time of that year and My Queen. Now I’m allergic. ;/ Maybe it’s just me.

    I don’t care for DTLY, but I love Joseph…just prefer him in his movies though for my sake.

  20. seriously, this has got to be the most WTF golden bell awards EVER. wilbur pan getting nominated was already laughable enough. but he actually wins??? absolutely flabbergasted. i knew the golden bells were not to be trusted after zai zai lost out to mark zhao two years ago. but really?? wilbur winning? someone was probably pulling strings for him behind the scenes.

    if i were sonia, i would roll my eyes too. the judges on the panel must be smoking something. or they’re all connected to the winner somehow and fail to judge impartially. >: [[[[

  21. There are still high profile awards where the winners aren’t known before the show? That surprises me and make me want to watch it next year.

    And to the dress accident I just can say: Just wear underwear or proper clothes. If you choose a dress that hardly leaves anything to imagine don’t whine afterwards.

    I really like Rainies dress and don’t understand the complains. It suits her and she looks comfortable in it. Who cares for more?

  22. I didn’t care for TFW or Tian Xin’s drama, but I actually liked Endless Love. Sonia’s performance wasn’t outstanding, imo. Wilbur Pan was a bit bland. I thought Tian Xin acted quite well, despite the boring plot and script. Also the non-drama categories were equally surprising 0_0

  23. Urgh, great! Will this be another case where people give into their entitlement to judge about how “so and so was ROBBED” – usually followed by eleventeen exclamation marks?
    I´ve never seen the guy act, but seeing as he was nominated in the first place, his win might not be undeserved.. That people are going to hate HIM for winnig seems just ridiculous to me!
    Oh and all the conspiracy theories! I can´t comment at all on this year´s nominees but as far as “Black and White” is concerned, I actually don´t think the jury´s decision was as wrong as people make it out to be. I know it´s a very unpopular opinion -and Vic Zhou obviously had the flashier role- but I personally liked Mark Zhao´s performance more.

    People were also outraged about Rainie winning, weren´t they? Or am I thinking of another award show?

  24. Hold on! Is Sonia, really not wearing unmentionables under that dress?? For real? 😮 there’s such thing called underwear. Oh. My. Lord!

  25. what the hell? where they all drunk when they decided who would win and poor sonia sui, she was so pretty and all dolled up ’cause girl knows she’s gonna win

    what a bunch of retards that award-giving body is

  26. I’m with ockoala on this in that I really didn’t bother about who won, since for all I knew there were well-written, well-received, well-acted and consistent non-idol dramas in Taiwan that should sweep the awards rather than the fairly-good-to-downright-mediocre idol drama fare (and I’m saying this despite my love for DTLY, TFW, OG, MQ and many past idol dramas).

    However, seeing the news reports all around, the awards committee seem unprofessional, and flubbed it badly enough that even the actors and industry people aren’t having any problem being unprofessional right back. The media reports of their justifications are mindboggling; it’s like they’re not even bothering to defend their choices on the basis of acting capability. My sympathies to Sonia, James and Joseph for not winning, but also to Will and Tian Xin for winning under such circumstances.

    Btw, does Taiwan have any awards that are respectable? Or at least not to outright illogical?

  27. sandrine pinna and will pan did a great job in Endless love. Although the first few episodes is medicore, subsequently, their acting and chemistry improved alot.. towards to end of the drama… i was been drawn into their characters. The storyline is a typical type of idol drama and the script is not well done, especially certain plots they should explain clearly to the viewers. The ending can be better 2. kind of disappointed, they could have done better and give some punch to the storyline.. However,I love this drama because of the two main leads. They were into their characters and i can feel that they love each other. Wilbur Pan should thank Sandrine for winning this award.. there can also be other contributing factors such as the supporting cast and storyline, which gave him opportunity to bring out his character in the drama. Who deserve the awards are subjectives, we all have different views. Whoever whines and cry foul doesn’t matter as the trophy landed on the winners hands. This is a fact. Just make a comeback next year.. this should be the spirit. – peace

  28. WTF all around I say!!!!….I mean Wilburn REALLY??? where those judges on crack?…he has a long way to become a real actor, he is decent or ok, but really doesn’t deserved it..I started to watched “Endless Love” and I was about to kill someone by episode 4…and the drama just got out of control after that…it was just bad…wow wow….the Academy really screwed up big time, there is no word to describe this…I feel terrible for the cast of TFW, I mean if they were not planning on given awards to some of them, don’t nominate people…..

  29. I was shocked that Wilbur won the award, i believe Wilbur did not expect either. However, Wilbur Pan had improved so much since his previous drama with Rainie. He may not be the most talented, but he is one of the most hardworking artise. There were a few scenes he did great, such as the crying scenes.
    Talking about the drama,The fierce wife is a nice and refreshing drama but i agreed it is overrated. Endless love have the potiential to do well, but the plots and the storyline is lacking in certain way. so i do understand why it is underrated. Sonia did a great job in TFW. As for Tien Xin, i did not watch the drama so no comment. James Wen did not leave great impression on me as i tend to look at sonia and amanda performance. James Wen performance was being overshadowed by the other 2. Joseph and Rainie were ok in DTLY. But Joseph did not have much space to bring out or express the character because of the story itself. It is not surprising that he did not win. Last of all, i was shocked to see the photo of sonia at the red carpet..

  30. Aww… I feel very bad for Sonia Sui. 🙁 Definitely not her day. I actually feel the same way right now too… when you tried to make things work and give it your best shot but for some reasons, you fall short and things go downhill from there.

    Maybe I do deserve it somehow (for my sitch right now) but I think Sonia doesn’t. Oh well, at least we all know that she deserves that award more. As for the slip, time will pass, people will forget so just keep ya head up girl! 😉

    • Sorry to hear life isn’t so hot these days. But life necessarily has a downhill period so you can rest, and resume your uphill climb.

      As for Wilbur winning, it’s such an insane farce at this point. The boy barely speaks Mandarin well and has acted in two dramas as the lead, the first of which he was so godawful he had to apologize for being such a green actor.

      Even if the Best Actor somehow became “most improved” he still wouldn’t win it. I like Wilbur, he’s just no actor. I feel bad for him because I honestly don’t think he was trying to win. This is really going to make it hard for him in the industry.

      But to be fair, of all the Taiwanese-American or Canadian actors, he’s not nearly the worst. I rank them:

      Mark Chao
      Peter Ho
      Wilbur Pan
      George Hu
      Vanness Wu

      The day Vanness wins a Best Actor I’ll be ROFLMHO.

      • I think that when there’s someone related to the nominated actors/dramas in the judging panel, these awards can’t be trusted.
        Someone keeps mentioning Angie Cai, and I’ll have to agree with her/him. It’s was already bad enough that Hi my sweetheart! got nominated for best drama last year (I do agree with Show’s and Rainie’s nominations, though. Even if I think Rainie was much better in ToGetHer and now in Drunken to Love You), but Wilbur getting nominated and actually winning is just too bad to be true. Even Will was not expecting to get the award.
        Rumors also say that Angie is the reason why Autumn Concert (that was considered by critics and audience as the best drama that year) only got nominated for a smaller category. She was behind F4’s creation and she never got over the fact that they decided to abandon her company. As long as she keeps being so influent, none of them will win (Vic is the only one who could get the award, though, because he’s the only good actor, imho).

        Something really needs to change for these awards to get their credibility (?) back.

      • Ahh, thank you for including Peter Ho and Vanness Wu. I see all the love for the two in Summer’s Desire (which I was impressed with for other reasons) and AC, but I couldn’t finish them.

        I thought I was the only one.

      • Love the last line! HAHA! XD Although I somehow like AC (haven’t finished the episodes though, dunno when I’ll get the chance), I think Vanness’ acting isn’t stellar at all.

        I kinda feel bad now for Wilbur too… based on what I’m reading so far in some websites, feedbacks from his victory isn’t very good. I also think he isn’t responsible or he’s not involved just in case there’s cheating or whatsoever.

        Btw, thanks for the kind words… oh well. I feel much better now. Time to just let things sink in and learn from the bad things. :/

  31. Rainie and Joseph looking fabulous together! How sweet! I think Sonia can’t help but weep after all the frustrating things that happened with her that night not only because she didn’t get the award. I haven’t watched these dramas mentioned except DTLY so all I can say is that I’ve watched Wilbur Pan’s acting in his drama with Rainie and it’s just mediocre. Guess always interjects that because of Angie Chai that Wilbur won the award. I still have a bitter taste at the mention of Mark Chao winning over Vic Zhou in Black and White that because of that until now I can’t finish watching it eventhough I liked Vic so much and never missed any of his drama and films. Just yesterday I’ve watched the Asian Film Festival in Osaka, Japan last March in our Pinoy TV and Taiwan’s official entry was Vic Zhou’s Love You 10,000 Years, this just goes to show how good Vic is.

  32. Oh well guess i was totally right..the GBA committee have indeed gone nuts every since 2009, when they gave that bullsh*t trophy to that actor who only knows how to shout and cry through making his already small eyes even smaller over Vic Zhou who have greatly displayed a wide range of emotions and genuine portrayal…and now this thingy…I know that all nominees are deserving to win and if it was true that wilbur have really improve then good for him..but improving does not mean that he was the “best actor” among the nominees..yes he was good, no doubt about that but the award they are fighting for was not being the “good actor” but the “best” i felt so bad for the actual “best actor” among the nominees..(this one also applies to the Best actor award during the 2009 GBA where it was actually just given to the “good” not the “best actor”)
    For heavens sake..the GBA should change the rotten way they have today or better just disappear rather than come up with a bunch of asshole..
    But then congrats to the winners..

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