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Stars come out for HK film awards

A WESTERN from the Republic of Korea is the top contender at the third Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong - a rare gathering of movie talent from China to Bollywood that will feature Oliver Stone and William Hurt as presenters.

Kim Jee-won's "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is up for eight awards in 13 categories, including best film and best director for Kim. Song Kang-ho, who won best actor at the 2007 awards, was nominated again, and co-stars Jung Woo-sung and Lee Byung-hun are contending for best supporting actor.

Kim and Jung are scheduled to attend today's event, along with best director nominee John Woo, Japan's Masahiro Motoki, star of the Oscar-winning "Departures," and Chinese actresses Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei, both nominated as best actress.

Celebrity judges

Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra will receive The Nielsen Box Office Award presented by trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.

"Platoon" director Stone will present the best director prize. It wasn't immediately clear which awards Hurt and "The Last Emperor" star Joan Chen will give away.

Retired Taiwanese actress Brigitte Lin will make a rare appearance to present the Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema Award to veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark and his wife, producer Nansun Shi.

The winners were chosen by a panel of 13 judges chaired by former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, who will also be at the event.

Also competing for best picture are Chen Kaige's Peking Opera biopic "Forever Enthralled," famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo on the Cliff," Woo's Chinese historical epic "Red Cliff," the Japan-Netherlands-Hong Kong family drama "Tokyo Sonata" and Indonesia's "The Rainbow Troops."

Woo and Miyazaki were also nominated for best director. The other nominees are Chinese mainland's Feng Xiaogang for the romance "If You Are the One," Japan's Hirokazu Koreeda for "Still Walking" and Brillante Mendoza for the Philippine movie "Service."

In the best actor category, Song is competing against Ge You from Chinese mainland, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, South Korea's Ha Jung-woo and Japanese actors Motoki and Kenichi Matsuyama for "Detroit Metal City."

Kumar was nominated for "Singh is Kinng," a comedy about an Indian villager who travels to Australia to persuade a fellow villager-turned-gangster to return. Ha was named for the action thriller "The Chaser," about a serial killer on the run.


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