The Golden Eagle Awards may not have the international profile of the Oscars or the Emmys but the TV gongs are just as fiercely contested. They're China's premier television awards and reflect what the public think are the best and brightest productions on the box.
In TV in China, the Golden Eagles are it as far as awards go. They were first handed out 20 years ago as a result of a public poll organized by the Mass TV Magazine of South China's Zhejiang Province. The organizers hoped the event would become as influential as the Golden Rooster Awards are for film and, it's safe to say that that goal has been realized. The event stands out because it is the only national TV prize determined by audience votes. Last year alone there were more than four million ballots cast.
Nominations for the eight categories in this year's awards are already out and, as with other audience-driven contests, programs with high ratings have a better chance of winning. That means big hits like The Secret History of Queen Xiaozhuang, Big-feet Queen Ma, 'DA' Infantry, Liu Laogen II are the front-runners.
The big ticket categories are the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. Last year Zhao Benshan and Tang Guoqiang took the top honors in the men's section. They're back again in 2003 up against Pu Cunxin, Li Baotian, Wang Zhiwen and 10 other nominees.
Most interestingly, this year's actress category is dominated by imperial roles. Three of the nominations are: Lu Liping starring in Big-feet Queen Ma; Ning Jing from The Secret History of Queen Xiaozhuang and Jiang Wenli playing the last queen of the Qing Dynasty in The Unusual Citizens. Also on the list are Xu Qing, Wang Haiyan and Mei Ting.
The category of "Best Host/Hostess" is a new one and 20 TV personalities have a chance of winning. They include Yuan Yuan, Zhu Jun, Li Xiang, Chen Ling and Zhou Tao.
The awards are scheduled to air late next month in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.
The TV series April in One's Life starring actor Huang Lei and actress Rene Liu scored a Best Foreign TV Series nomination at the Emmys. Maybe one day the Golden Eagles will have the same cache as their US equivalents.
(CCTV.com August 26, 2003)