'Red Cliff' Vies for Best Asian Film

Red Cliff, John Woo, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Koyuki, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Vicki Zhao Wei, Shido Nakamura, Chang Chen, Lin Chiling

Hong Kong director John Woo's historical epic "Red Cliff" scooped nominations for both best film and best director at the Asian Film Awards Wednesday.

But the film's two stars, Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, were overlooked by judges for the third annual Hong Kong-based prize, AFP reported.

"Red Cliff" will compete for the best picture title with five other Asian films, including the Chinese-language film "The Warlords", Japanese anime flick "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", and the South Korean film "The Good, the Bad and the Weird", which led the list of nominees with eight nods.

In the best director category, Woo will face "The Good, the Bad and the Weird" director Kim Ji-woon, as well as Chinese mainland filmmaker Feng Xiaogang, who was nominated for "If You Are the One".

John Woo is best known for directing the Hollywood blockbuster "Mission: Impossible II". He released the US$80 million film "Red Cliff" in two segments, with the first coming out in July last year and the second half currently hitting theaters. "Red Cliff I" is the most profitable Chinese-language film in history, and the sequel has also reported good revenue so far.

"If You Are the One" comedian Ge You is the only Chinese nominee for the best actor award, while Chinese talents seized half of the spots for best actress. Jiang Wenli ("And the Spring Comes"), Zhao Wei ("Painted Skin") and Zhou Xun ("The Equation of Love and Death") will all vie for the title.

A total of 36 Asian films were selected from among hundreds of entries in 13 categories. The awards are organized by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.

The nominations will be judged by a 13-member jury headed by Michelle Yeoh, the Malaysian-Chinese actress who starred in the 1997 James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies".

The winners will be announced at a ceremony scheduled for March 23.

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