27th Magnolia Awards

The Magnolia Awards are here, and it’s another year of wishing that my favourite shows, or at least recipients deserving of the accolades, take home the awards. It’s always a delicate balancing act when it comes to giving out the awards, but I’m happy to report that there were no major surprises tonight (apart from the fact that Liu Lin didn’t win…again). Best Actress was the closest race this year, and Tong Yao edged out Reyizha to take home the award.

Judges include director Liu Jin (White Deer Plain), director Fu Dongyu (The Thunder), Tao Hong (A Little Reunion), Tong Dawei (A Love For Dilemma) and screenwriter Zhang Lei (Chinese Style Relationship).

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Actresses suit up for Marie Claire Power Trip

Tang Yan, Zhang Yuqi, Ni Ni, Li Bingbing, Sun Li, Yang Mi, and Liu Shishi by Feng Hai. No photoshop other than lighting.

Marie Claire has become the first magazine to host a fashion event exclusively for women, and has invited actresses, models and influential female executives. The dress code for the night was black and white suits – who do you ship? (Hint: the correct answer is everyone X everyone)

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Divorced: Tong Liya and Chen Sicheng

Tong Liya

Tong Liya has finally parted ways with actor-director Chen Sicheng. He’s been caught multiple times “hanging out” with other women by the paparazzi, so this announcement was just a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Congrats!

“Life is beautiful, and the future is bright. Thank you @ Chen Sicheng”. They began dating in 2011, and were married from 2014 to 2020. The couple have one son.

Photoshoot Round-up: Bazaar Icons

A round-up of perfectly photoshopped (or not) pictures of the stars ahead of the Bazaar event tonight. Which look(s) do you like the most?

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Married with kids: Wu Qian, Zhang Yujian

This Weibo post from Zhang Yujian confirms the open secret that he is married to I Only Like You costar Wu Qian, and that the two have a daughter. Congrats to the couple!

The actor is visibly annoyed that he was forced to make the announcement because the paparazzi wouldn’t leave his family alone (as anyone would be), but reactions were mixed given his handling of the rumours over the past year:

We dated, married, and now have an adorable child – steps were taken to ensure all legal procedures were completed. It’s okay if you reproach me, because I don’t know you, and don’t have to tell you anything. I only want my kid to have a normal childhood – you really shouldn’t have taken pictures of my daughter and revealed her name. It is her parents’ fault that she wasn’t protected well enough. Her mother is also very upset. Make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Mulan Getting an Oscars Nod for Best Costume is a Joke, so Here’s A List of Period Dramas in 2020 that had Better Costumes

In the past decade, costume designers of Chinese period pieces have tried recreating artifacts, revitalizing traditional textile printing methods, built entire hand-embroidery departments, experimented with a variety of Western fabrics and silhouettes for fantasy and sci-fi costumes, but Disney’s live-action Mulan is here to remind that Hollywood still thinks of them as rednecks with neither aesthetics nor skill.

I should probably be happy that Nomadland and Minari are getting so much recognization, but when I saw the Academy Awards nominations all I could think about was how ridiculous it was that Bina Daigeler got nominated for Best Costume for Mulan. Her costumes are so atrocious that most Chinese people can’t even tell if they were poorly made because she wants to offend Chinese people on purpose, or because she didn’t care enough to make something inoffensive (probably a mix of both). To make it worse, the live-action Mulan was nominated for awards by both the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards and the Costume Designers Guild Awards, so even the “professionals” think so poorly of Chinese traditional clothes that they think Mulan’s costume designer is good.

Due to both popularization of hanfu as an everyday garment and more types of dramas being made, costume designers of Chinese period pieces have gone through so many different trends, diversified the types, and improved the quality of their costumes in recent years. They’ve tried recreating artifacts, revitalizing traditional textile printing methods, built entire hand-embroidery departments, experimented with a variety of Western fabrics and silhouettes for fantasy and sci-fi costumes. Yet Disney’s live-action Mulan is here to remind that them that most in the West still thinks of them as rednecks with hand-me-down aesthetics leftover whose best costumes look like 1980’s TVB leftovers.

So, in honor of the Chinese designers who get so little recognization I can’t find their names for most of the dramas, I looked through the list of Chinese dramas that aired in 2020 to make a list of period dramas with better costumes than Mulan.

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Red carpet round-up: 2020 Weibo Awards Ceremony

Another year of the Weibo awards, another year of marvelling at how great all the actresses look.

Select list of attendees: Angelababy, Huang Xiaoming, Bai Jingting, Bai Yu, Deng Chao, Sun Li, Dilraba, Guan Xiaotong, Lu Han, Kris Wu, Huang Zitao, Zhang Yixing, Jin Chen, Li Bingbing, Li Xian, Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haocun, Mao Xiaotong, Ni Ni, Zhao Liying, Song Qian, Song Weilong, Tan Songyun, Tang Yan, Tong Liya, Tong Yao, Wang Kai, Cai Xukun, Wang Yibo, Xiao Zhan, Yang Zi & Yang Mi.

The cast of Hi, Mom – Shen Teng, director Jia Ling, Zhang Xiaofei. The movie has topped $700M USD to become China’s third-highest grossing film ever.
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Zheng Shuang becomes the first artist to be publicly blacklisted by regulators

Zheng Shuang

Controversial actress Zheng Shuang, best known for her roles in Meteor Shower, Mural and Love O2O, has been condemned and banned, in writing, from future onscreen appearances by television and film regulator NRTA (formerly SARFT). The actress has been making headlines over the past few days for the use of surrogacy in the US (China has a de facto ban on all forms of surrogacy) and allegedly planning to abandon her children, who are currently in the US with her ex-husband.

The regulators have their own double standards when it comes to blacklisting artists, though this is the first time they have published an official editorial. Her upcoming dramas A Chinese Ghost Story (opposite Hou Minghao) and Masked probably won’t be able to broadcast unless they use AI to replace the actress, much like what The Message and The Glorious Era did after Zhao Lixin was quietly blacklisted.