China’s Huading Film Award ceremony was held for the first time in the United States on Sunday, with Hollywood celebrities like Halle Berry and Orlando Bloom receiving honours.
While the Chinese awards are little known in the US, Western film celebrities understand the importance of the burgeoning Chinese market and many were present at the event.
The bilingual show, hosted by the Chinese TV personality Olivia Xu and the Chinese-American actress Lucy Liu, was held in the city’s Ricardo Montalban theatre and broadcast to millions of viewers across the Chinese-speaking world.
Winners were chosen by some 80 million members of the Chinese public who participated via surveys and internet polling, according to the Beijing-based Global Talents Media Group, which has organised the annual awards event since 2007.
Halle Berry — who plays the role of Storm in the X-Men film saga — won the top honour, the Global Icon Award.
“No one is ready to receive a global icon award,” said Berry, who appeared flustered, as she received her award. She added that she was “happy for the better interpersonal relationship” between the Chinese public and Hollywood stars.
Chinese voters chose last year's Fast and Furious 6, starring Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, as the Best Global Movie of the Year.
Mexico's Guillermo del Toro won the top director award for his giant robot-and-monster movie Pacific Rim, in which Asian cities and actors are prominent even though the movie was filmed in Canada.
“China was very important to me as a kid. It captured my imagination with its landscapes,” Del Toro said as he accepted his award.
Orlando Bloom won the Best Global Movie Star award thanks to his appearance in hits like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies.
“Thanks to the fans that took time to see my movies,” he said, as he held up his award.
Jeremy Renner — who was not at the event — won the Best Global Supporting Actor award for his role in 2013's American Hustle, while Briton Charlie Hunnam won the award for Best Global Emerging Actor for his role as Jackson "Jax" Teller in the TV motorcycle gang series Sons of Anarchy.
Chinese viewers also chose The Croods as the Best Global Animated Movie, and honoured German film composer Hans Zimmer for a career that includes composing music for dozens of movies like The Lion King, Sherlock Holmes and Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2013, eleven of the 20 top grossing movies in China were Hollywood productions. At the same time, China’s market for movies grew at a stunning 35 per cent last year.