On the evening of June 23, a meet & greet with the winners of the Magnolia Awards was held, where the award-winning creators and the jury members met face-to-face with the media. While expressing their joy and excitement, they told the media some interesting behind-the-scenes stories: director Li Lu frankly said he thought there would be “joint winners”; Lei Jiayin and Wu Yue “renewed their ties” and took a photo together in the backstage; “Aunt Pot” Liu Dan dreamed that she didn’t win!
The casts: two cast that win big renewed their “bond” in the backstage
Cast of A LIFELONG JOURNEY
When receiving the Best TV Series (China) on stage, Hou Xiaonan, the representative of the producer of A LIFELONG JOURNEY, which scooped five awards, said emotionally: “The Magnolia is breathtaking, and A LIFELONG JOURNEY is worth it!” At the meet & greet with the winners in the backstage, director Li Lu, screenwriter Wang Hailing, and actors Lei Jiayin and Ding Yongdai also contributed a lot of witty remarks.
Li Lu said he was incoherent with his winning speech, “I’m honored. I didn’t expect that there would be only one winner for each individual award, so, special esteem to Magnolia Awards!” Screenwriter Wang Hailing’s words are also unusually concise: “I’m not a good speaker, but I’m a good writer. And I want to make it clear that for this industry, although we’re not bound together for good, we’ll, after all, suffer all setbacks together. So, it is extremely important for us to have dedicated professionals in each sector.”
Lei Jiayin, who’s always full of wit and humor, said he has been thinking, “Actors will always play roles that have noble characters. Why? Maybe it is because we are actually not that good. So, I want to play such roles, to empathize with the audience on the charm of the roles, examine my own characters and also nourish my own life. It’s really an honor to play a role like Zhou Bingkun. I feel fulfilled and especially blessed with this award from the organizing committee, because it tells me that all I’ve done is rewarding.”
Lei Jiayin is as humorous as always. After winning the award, he’d received endless congratulatory messages on his cell phone. However, too busy to reply in detail, he sent “Mua” back to everyone.
In the cast of A LIFELONG JOURNEY, Ding Yongdai, as a “veteran actor”, played the role of an ordinary worker. To bring out the rustic quality of the character, he had to spent more time in daily makeup than anyone else in the cast. Such efforts have reaped rewards, he said emotionally: “I’m very excited. I’ve engaged in acting for decades, and tried to take it through painstakingly for this honor. It’s a surprise for me to win today. I feel particularly lucky to have such a great team, and this glory belongs to all of you.” As for his next plans, he said that just like the theme song of A LIFELONG JOURNEY sings, “The grass will sprout, the children will grow up, and I will push ahead as always.”
Cast of BRIGHT FUTURE
BRIGHT FUTURE, which won three awards, has also garnered a lot of attention, especially for the Best Actress winner, Wu Yue. She has worked with Lei Jiayin in THE FIRST HALF OF MY LIFE and it is obvious that the “bond” between them has continued till this day: Chen Junsheng (Lei Jiayin) and Ling Ling (Wu Yue) in the drama won the Best Actor and the Best Actress on the stage of Magnolia Awards that night respectively. “It did remind me of Chen Junsheng and Ling Ling, so we also took a picture backstage just now as a souvenir. ‘Chen Junsheng’ and ‘Ling Ling’ have finally gotten flowers and applause at Magnolia Awards, and I thought it was a good story too.” She said.
This time, Wu Yue, who won the honor at her city, was very happy. “I haven’t had a chance to call yet, but I think my mom and dad will be very happy too. I’m really grateful for the recognition from the jury of Magnolia Awards. It’s unexpected, because my part is all about the daily life of grassroots cadres, and there are no dramatic plots, so I was very surprised with it, and I’m lucky.”
Wang Xiaoqiang, who won the Best Original Screenplay, lamented that he was “under a lot of pressure” and said, “I’m especially happy. This is almost the most stressful, difficult and time-critical script in my career. I started writing it two years ago, and I really didn’t expect to win today, so I’m very happy.” He said that he “will be in awe of the profession of screenwriting and work hard as always.”
Cast of RESET
Liu Dan’s role as “Aunt Pot” in RESET made all the audience break out in a cold sweat, and it is said that in the cast, even the director was shocked by Liu Dan in the scene; at the award ceremony, Liu Dan came on stage and laughed loudly, which attracted a lot of attention. In this regard, Liu Dan explained that “it’s not a performance” at the meet & greet with the winners: “It was indeed unexpected. I even had no idea about what to say on the stage. Last night, I had a dream that I took a big fall and fell in the water on the ground, and in the morning I got up and said to myself ‘it’s good enough to be nominated’.”
She revealed with a smile that she won “probably because I wore a cheongsam today” because many of her friends sent her messages telling her “it is a symbol of victory”. As for “Aunt Pot”, a nickname given by fans, Liu Dan was overjoyed: “I love it!”
Cast of LEFT RIGHT
The winner of the Best Cinematography, Yu Xiaochen, thanked the creators in his acceptance speech, including the lead actress Ren Suxi, who was present that day, “It is her vivid performance that makes this work true to life and brings it acclamation.” He also thanked his wife and asked all film and TV workers to say thank you to their families, because “without them, it is impossible for us to achieve anything.”
At the meeting with the winners, he said he was “very excited today”, “The Magnolia (Awards) is a blessing for me because I have been a finalist before, but I didn’t win that time. I was surprised to see the trophy this time, because all the other films were very, very good, so I didn’t expect that it would go to me. This award is a recognition for us, and for all the finalists, because I think they are great TV workers.”
Cast of THREE-BODY
Author of science fiction fans’ favorite book THREE-BODY, Liu Cixin, came as the guest of honor to present the most important award: Best TV Series (China). The producer of the drama THREE-BODY Bai Yicong gave the acceptance speech for the winner Liu Yongqi, who was indisposed, and humorously and thoughtfully thanked a lot of people, including he himself, on behalf of Liu Yongqi. THREE-BODY marks the highest level of Chinese sci-fi works, and on behalf of all the creators present, Bai Yicong also thanked Liu Yongqi for his dedication to this work, “I am very honored to accept this award on behalf of Mr. Liu, and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Jury panel: We’ll always be there to guard the Magnolia Awards
The seven juries of the TV drama (China) category in the TV drama section made a collective appearance in front of the media at the meet & greet with the winners. They said that they were relieved to have finally fulfilled the extremely challenging selection after working around the clock, but looking back, they found that they “sincerely enjoyed the judging process”, and that “we are a Team”. The feeling of “respecting and guarding the Magnolia Awards” was great for them.
Hu Zhifeng, Jury President, said he noticed that the media were “enthusiastically following the selection results of the Magnolia Awards”, and that the selection results of the 28th Magnolia Awards and the successful awards ceremony have also shown the jury’s appreciation for “all TV workers who have worked so hard for Chinese TV dramas”.
“The seven of us have been working day and night for the past few days, and it’s been very brain-wracking,” he said, adding that his two main feelings were “tired” and “cornered”. “Last night to select the final winners, and to write a message to each of them, we were up until about two o’clock before we returned to our own room. It’s tedious to work around the clock; there are so many quality works and good creators that we really feel that it is difficult to make choices between them, and the final winners unveiled today, I believe, will surely live up to your expectations.”
Duan Yihong said he had expressed his ideas frankly at the awards ceremony: “I just congratulate from the bottom of my heart and enjoy the judging process the same way.” He found the judging process quite enjoyable: “It’s also boosting our creativity, because when I see other people’s ‘advanced’ expressions, I’ll think why I’ve failed to make it, not to mention the genuine empathy. We are the juries and also the audience. This mentality is very interesting. With good performances and good works, I’ll forget the role as a jury, and immerse in it. That’s how I feel.”
Mu Deyuan said that he did not feel tired and challenging, “I feel that I have re-experienced the creation of so many films together. I experienced the creation process of a director from the director’s point of view, the process of characterization from the actor’s point of view and the process of creation from the cameraman’s point of view in addition to perceptions from art and many other perspectives. So, I’ve improved myself and harvested a lot with these processes.”
Sun Hao said he was baptized by so many excellent works: “It gave us a concentrated study chance and enlightened us again, just like back in school.” He expressed his attachment to the Magnolia Awards, “Although we’re so sleepy last night, we’re still overwhelmed by the sadness of departure. I really learned a lot from my partners, be it about life, or about creation. And I feel that the seven of us are very simple in nature. It is a precious chance for us to meet, and I hope we’ll get together often, as we are a TEAM!” For the final winners, he said that although the selection process was difficult, “but the final result is underpinned by our consensus. And we’ve chosen the best among the best. We treasure them all, and we’re proud to have such good works.”
Wang Luodan said modestly that judging is a learning process for her, “a learning experience with professional seniors from different sectors in the industry to review a drama from all angles.” After the review, she and Duan Yihong exchange their ideas, “I said it is difficult to make choice. He said that’s why we have to do so, and I said yes, so the review, or more precisely, learning process is very important to me.” As for the judging, she said she is “very indecisive and hesitant” in nature. “Last night after dinner, I was so overwhelmed that I could not help but cry. Because I like many of the works, and I don’t know how to choose from them? What can I do?” But the final result moved her, “We all have persistence for good things. Although the award is momentary, but be it acting, directing or work, it is a lifetime, and it is something we have to respect and defend forever.”
Wang Sanmao exclaimed that in the past, he only knew that being a screenwriter involves both mental and physical labors, but “this experience as a jury has proven that it is more laborious to be a jury.” Tired, but he is also very pleased, “these two years witnessed a spurt of TV drama hits, so that we are learning when watching works. But it is difficult to choose the best from them. The seven of us, as Sun said earlier, are simple individuals who do not want to compromise. Otherwise, the result won’t be recognized by the audience and media. So, we’ve tried our best to make judgement, thought about it again and again, and finally reached consensus. As for the winners we selected, I personally think we kind of tried our best.”
Zhao Tong has watched many TV dramas, and during the judging process, he said he “has felt personally the unique charm of the Magnolia Awards”, “we can find that the 28th Magnolia Awards has gathered a plethora of wonderful works. And I believe that as we move towards quality creation, the 29th Magnolia Awards will be even more spectacular.”