Let the Bullets Fly leads the Asian Film Awards nomination race
Three of the five Best Actor nominees are Chinese. Veteran Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat (周润发, pinyin: Zhōu Rùnfā) is nominated for his performance as a mobster in Let the Bullets Fly. Another veteran performer, Ge You (葛优), who co-starred with Chow in Let the Bullets Fly, earned a nomination for his role as a vengeful court physician in the newly released Chen Kaige historical epic, Sacrifice. The youngest of the nominees is 28 year-old Taiwanese actor Ethan Ruan (阮经天, pinyin: Ruǎn Jīngtiān) who played a gangster on the rise in Monga.
One of mainland China's most acclaimed actresses and wife of Aftershock director Feng Xiaogang, Xu Fan (徐帆) is up for Best Actress for her emotional portrayal in her husband's film. Also nominated is the Malaysian-born but Hong Kong raised Michelle Yeoh (杨紫琼, pinyin: Yáng Zǐqióng). The 48 year-old, best-known for her martial arts roles, was nominated for her performance as an assassin in John Woo's wuxia film Reign of Assassins.
In the Best Supporting Actor category Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) gets his second nomination in a row. Last year he was nominated for the espionage thriller The Message, and this year for Sacrifice. Sammo Hung (洪金宝, pinyin: Hóng Jīnbǎo), another Hong Kong martial arts veteran, was nominated for Ip Man 2. The 59 year old, who began his career as a child actor in the early sixties, was also action director in the martial arts bioflic.
Only one Chinese actor was amongst the Best Supporting Actress nominees, but veteran Carina Lau (刘嘉玲, pinyin: Liú Jiālíng) is one of the early favourites. The Hong Kong star is nominated for Let the Bullets Fly in which she played a governor's mercenary wife.
The Asian Film Awards also awards a Best Newcomer prize. Nominees this year include rising Taiwanese actor Mark Chao (赵又廷, pinyin: Zhào Yòutíng) who made a big impression in the gangster film Monga. 23 year old Hong Kong singer, Aarif Lee (李治廷, pinyin: Lǐ Zhìtíng) was also nominated for the family drama Echoes of the Rainbow, a film in which he has already been awarded Best New Performer at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Zhou Dongyu (周冬雨), an unknown with no professional acting experience before chosen by Zhang Yimou to star in The Love of the Hawthorn Tree, also earned a nomination for her performance.
The Asian Film Awards are organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, and the winners will be announced on March 21. The full list of nominees can be found at the Society's website.