Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and Sylvester Stallone are among the Hollywood stars set to take part in Los Angeles’ latest — and perhaps most curious — addition to awards season.
The actors are set to attend China’s Huading Awards, to be held at L.A.’s Ace Hotel on Thursday (December 15). But before awards analysts start wondering whether they have to factor an odd-ball variable into their Oscars prediction formulas, it’s worth noting the Chinese award show’s unique history and content.
A live awards gala roughly akin to the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys, the Grammys and the People’s Choice Awards all rolled into one — with a strong Chinese twist — the event dishes out honors to talent from all fields of entertainment, from stage theater to film, pop music to TV, and even traditional Chinese opera. The film categories, crucially, hand out honors to movies from the year prior, so titles like The Martian, Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron are among the nominees in the show’s best global picture category this year (nominations tend to have a populist bent).
The Huading Awards were founded in 2007 by Chinese entertainment company Tianxia Yingcai Cultural Media. Nominees are selected by committee and the winners are chosen by popular vote over the award show’s website and other Chinese internet portals.
Additional Hollywood names expected to attend this year include Wiz Khalifa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Hilary Swank.
Unlike other awards ceremonies, the location of the Huading Awards is not fixed; previous editions have been held in Macau, Hong Kong and Mainland China. The awards honor stars from around the world and previous winners include Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irons, Quentin Tarantino, Halle Berry and Chris Hemsworth. The event has a tendency to run long, even by awards show standards — in 2013 it ran over four hours.
Hollywood stars have frequently turned up when nominated — presumably for exposure in the fast-growing Chinese entertainment market. The show is live-streamed in China — by LeTV in past years — and aired during a delayed broadcast on dozens of local and provincial TV stations across the country. Organizers claimed they reached an estimated audience of 800 million in 2013, the year Nicolas Cage was awarded the show’s best global actor in motion pictures honor.