Huabiao refers to a type of ceremonial column often erected in front of palaces and last weekend the pillars of China's film industry were recognized.
Jackie Chan performed a song on stage, Chow Yun-fat, who seldom shows up at mainland film festivals, walked the red carpet, and top directors Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Stephen Chow and Wong Kar-wai all attended.
Set up in 1957, Huabiao Film Awards is a film competition hosted by the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT). It has been a bi-annual event since 2005.
Megastar Zhang Ziyi won accolades at the awards for her role as Meng Xiaodong, the lover of Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang in Chen Kaige's Forever Enthralled (Mei Lanfang).
She earned the same Excellent Actress honor in 2005, by her performance in Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers (Shimian Maifu).
Chen was awarded as Excellent Director. Feng Xiaogang, whose war film The Assembly (Jijie Hao) topped the local box office in 2007, shared the honor.
Taiwan actress Shu Qi at the press conference after she won the Excellent Chinese Actress outside the Mainland award at this year's Huabiao Film Awards. Wang Jing
Despite the formalities, the event is more like a party than a contest. The award winners are honored as "excellent" instead of "best" and usually every award has two winners or more.