Felicia Chin receives her second ATA Best Actress nomination
The list of nominees for this year’s upcoming Asian Television Awards (ATA) has been released, and a number of our very own artistes and programmes will be going up against talents from all over the region for the event’s top honours.
Felicia Chin, who scored her first ATA nod in 2015 but went home empty-handed, is in the running for Best Actress in a Leading Role once again, this time for Toggle Originals series 2589 Days Apart. The 33-year-old, who is currently filming episodes for Life Less Ordinary on a cruise ship, told us – via WhatsApp voice message, as reception on her end was poor – that she is thrilled to be recognised for “one of, if not the best role that [she has] undertaken so far”.
“It felt daunting at first because I had to portray three different age groups in just 75 minutes of content, but I really enjoyed myself and I received a lot of good comments, and to be acknowledged by professionals is very gratifying as an actress,” she gushed.
Instead of dwelling too much on her odds of winning on that night, Felicia shared that she just wants to “keep [her] heart open” and “enjoy the thought of being nominated”. “Whether I win or not, I’m thankful enough to be named alongside veteran actresses like Kara Wai and Zoe Tay.”
Just as delighted at her nomination is Felicia’s boyfriend and co-star Jeffrey Xu, whom she updated during their dinner break between scenes. “He watched all five episodes [of 2589 Days Apart] in one go and he cried at the end,” she said, adding that his emotional reaction made her very happy. “He’s very proud of me and very, very, very happy.”
So will the couple be walking the red carpet together at the event in a few weeks? “My manager is still in the midst of handling my schedule so a lot of details are still up in the air at the moment,” she revealed. “But I would love to be there.”
Continued on next slide: Zoe Tay updates on her recent health scare
Zoe Tay updates on her recent health scare
Ah Jie Zoe Tay, who has two previous nominations in the same category as Felicia (in 2000 for My Home Affairs and in 2009 for The Ultimatum), will also be vying for the Best Actress trophy for her nurse role in You Can Be an Angel 2. Will the third time be the charm?
In our phone interview, she shared that she was filming upcoming Channel 8 drama A Million Dollar Dream when her manager suddenly called her to say congratulations. “I thought I had won the lottery, even though I didn’t buy any tickets!” she chortled. “I am very happy, but I was so busy just now that I didn’t have time to process the news.”
The 49-year-old let on that she’s feeling very calm about the outcome, especially since she’s unfamiliar with the works of her competitors. On the other hand, her stylist, who was with her during our conversation, was said to have teased her, “Don’t just keep getting nominated – bring home an award for once!” (But um, didn’t Zoe recently bag Best Actress at the Star Awards earlier this year?)
We then took the opportunity to ask Zoe about her recent health issues, which involved a cold and a sprained back. Thankfully, she reassured us that it was “nothing major” (as evidenced by an X-ray and MRI) and that she probably just overexerted herself on the job. “The main issue was tired muscles, so the doctor injected a relaxant and I lied down the entire day.”
Because of this incident, Zoe makes sure to take a break whenever she feels fatigued. “In the past 30 years, I’ve taken no more than 10 days of sick leave,” she said. “I used to believe that my body could take anything, but it got so bad that I couldn’t even walk! So this was really a wake-up call for me, and I learned the importance of sufficient rest.”
Continued on next slide: Quan Yi Fong a step closer to second Best Entertainment Host win
Quan Yi Fong a step closer to second Best Entertainment Host win
Quan Yi Fong faces the possibility of becoming a two-time Best Entertainment Presenter/Host victor – she previously won in 2008 – with this year’s nomination for Channel U’s Markets In Asia, which won her Best Programme Host at this year’s Star Awards.
Before the shortlist was officially released, celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee (who is godfather to Yi Fong’s daughter Eleanor Lee) congratulated her on her nomination. “I heard whispers as early as this afternoon, but I thought it was a prank,” Yi Fong admitted. “When the news was confirmed, I was very happy.” Eleanor has also heard of her mother’s accomplishment, which she responded to with a cute congratulatory song.
Upon seeing the rest of the nominees, which include twice-named Allan Wu and Yvette King, Yi Fong declared that she feels very proud of herself, especially since Markets In Asia is the first time the Taiwan-born veteran has ever hosted a show in English.
“I’m honoured that they chose to look past my limited language skills!” the 43-year-old exclaimed with a laugh. But don’t expect her to take on any more English-speaking gigs – she confessed that she still doesn’t feel completely up to the task.
Continued on next slide: Zhu Hou Ren won’t be disappointed if he loses
Photos: Quan Yi Fong/Instagram, Toggle
Zhu Hou Ren won’t be disappointed if he loses
Zhu Hou Ren has been given another shot at Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his psychotic portrayal in Trapped Minds (a character he said was “very easy to play”), three years after his previous nomination for Served H.O.T.. The veteran actor candidly stated that he isn’t that surprised at the nod as he’s been in showbiz for so many years, and that doesn’t feel any pressure as he doesn’t know much about his fellow contenders in the category.
“I will attend the awards show, but I will treat it as if I’m going to a party,” the 62-year-old told us. “Of course I will be glad if I win, but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t win either.”
While his youngest son Joel Choo, who recently started following in his father’s acting footsteps, is aware of the nomination and hopes for a triumphant result, Hou Ren admitted that his wife doesn’t even know he acted in such a drama. Well, guess she knows now!
Continued on next slide: Lee Teng and Kishan.J score first ATA nominations
Lee Teng and Kishan.J score first ATA nominations
First-time ATA hopeful Lee Teng, who is shortlisted for Best Current Affairs Presenter for Fixer, laughingly expressed his relief that he is not duking it out in the same category as Yi Fong, as that eliminates one big rival. However, as he is unfamiliar with the other contenders, he was unable to gauge his own chances of winning.
When asked if he will be attending the ceremony, the 33-year-old revealed that at the moment, he has a hosting gig in China at the end of the month and is only scheduled to return to Singapore on December 2, the day after the awards show. However, if he receives the official invite, he will try his best to make arrangements to be there.
Also making his ATA nominees’ list debut – in fact, it’s his first acting award nomination ever – is Kishan.J (also known as J.Jai Kishan). The hard work he put into preparing for his role in Toggle Originals series Yes Mdm as a Mandarin-speaking Indian boy has bloomed into a nod for Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress.
“I’m already writing my speech,” quipped Kishan, who was over the moon when he learned of the good news from us. The Ah Boys to Men 4 actor went on to share that when he was cast, he was given five days to memorise his Mandarin script (written in Chinese characters instead of pinyin), which he blazed through with help from a tutor and “three different Google softwares”.
He’s also decided on what – or rather, who – to bring with him as his good luck charm: last year’s victor Carla Dunareanu. “I haven’t asked her yet; and I know she’s engaged to someone else, but never mind lah, a lucky charm is a lucky charm,” he deadpanned.
But regardless of whether Carla agrees to go with him or not, Kishan is confident that this foreign language factor will give him an edge over his fellow contenders, even his idol R. Chandran, who is nominated for Meet The MP. “I believe that if I win, it will break boundaries, especially with all the racial issues that are going on these days,” he said. “Talent has no colour: that is what this award will mean to me.”
Continued on next slide: Tanglin goes up against South Korean TV hits
Photos: Channel U/Facebook, Kishan.J/Instagram
‘Tanglin’ goes up against South Korean TV hits
Channel 5’s Tanglin faces some stiff competition in the Best Drama Series bracket, with popular South Korean programmes Love in the Moonlight, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Dr. Romantic and The Rebel also in the running. In Best Comedy Programme, we see three other Channel 5 shows – Fine Tune, The Noose and Meet The MP – alongside productions from Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Other notable nominations include Best Digital Fiction & Non-Fiction Programme/Series for Toggle Original Patisserie Fighting (starring Kit Chan and Chris Lee); as well as Best Theme Song for Collion Qi, Jim Lim and Kit Chan’s ‘You Light My Way’ (from Eat Already 2) and Alfred Sim and Zhang Leshang’s ‘If Only I Could’ (from the Channel 8 drama of the same name), which triumphed at this year’s Star Awards.
"I can only thank the producers for giving me the chance to sing this emotional theme song. Let's hope for the best!" Alfred shared in a statement through his manager. The new father is no stranger to the award, having won Best Theme Song in 2014 for the The Journey: A Voyage soundtrack.
Mediacorp has a total of 45 nominations (the highest out of all the broadcasters) for this year’s awards, which will take place on November 30 and December 1 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress nominees dominated by local stars
In addition to Kishan, the nominations for Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress are dominated by Lion City talents, namely Nurul Aini for Suria’s Kathy Gerenti, Siti Khalijah for Suria’s Sekuriti, Oon Shu An and R. Chandran for Channel 5’s Meet The MP, as well as Alaric Tay and Chua Enlai for Channel 5’s The Noose.
Please visit this link for the full list of nominations.
Photos: Nurul Aini/Instagram, Siti Khalijah/Instagram, Channel 5