The nominations for this year’s Golden Horse Awards aka the ‘Oscars of Asia’ were announced yesterday (Sep 30), and our own Mark Lee has made the shortlist for Best Leading Actor — the very same accolade that’s been bestowed upon numerous cinema greats like Tony Leung (both Chiu Wai and Ka Fai), Andy Lau, and Jackie Chan.

Mark was nominated for his role in Number 1, where he plays a man who ends up working as a drag queen after he gets retrenched from his MNC job. The movie has not been released in theatres yet. This makes him the second Singaporean artiste to be up for the honour after Gurmit Singh’s nod for Just Follow Law in 2007.

In a phone interview with this morning (Oct 1), the 51-year-old shared that he had just gotten home from picking up his kids from the tuition centre when he heard the good news from his assistant. However, his first reaction wasn’t to jump for joy — it was to go make himself a cup of coffee. And calmly too, might we add. 

“I had no feeling at first. In fact, my wife was much more excited than I was,” he recalled. It was only after receiving a flood of congratulatory WhatsApp messages that it began to sink in for him. “Right now, I’m really very happy.”

This seemingly care-less attitude is just how Mark is, by the way. In fact, he responded in almost the exact same nonchalant manner when his wife Catherine Ng told him she was finally expecting their first child, 12-year-old daughter Calista, after the couple had been trying to start a family for almost a decade (fun fact: she was conceived with the help of a Japanese adult film).

“My wife called to tell me she was pregnant and I said to her, ‘Okay. I’m filming now. I’ll call you back later.’ Then, when I was still on set, it slowly dawned on me that I was finally going to be a father after waiting for eight years, and I became very happy,” he said, adding that this was the exact feeling he experienced when he found out about his Golden Horse Awards nom.