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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Warlords conquer Hong Kong Film Awards

(CBC) - It was a conquest of sorts for historical epic The Warlords at the Hong Kong Film Awards, with the movie snatching eight gongs including best actor for martial arts star Jet Li and best film.

Set in 19th-century China, the sweeping saga was the main story at Sunday's ceremony. Peter Chan scooped a prize for best director, and the film also collected trophies for cinematography, art direction, costumes and makeup design.

"If I had not made a lot of kung fu films, I could have won the best-actor award 20 years ago," said Li as he accepted his prize. The 44-year-old actor has been better known for his chop-socky abilities in films such as The One, Unleashed and Fearless than for his acting chops.

Li beat out his co-star, Hong Kong celebrity Andy Lau who, along with Li, plays one of three warring brothers in The Warlords.

Fortunately for industry vet Lau, who also has a major singing career, he was also up in the supporting actor category, which he won for his performance as a mafia boss in the crime thriller Protege, which won as well for best film editing.

The best-actress award went to Siqin Gaowa for her lead role in comedy The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, in which she plays a woman in her sixties who falls for an amateur Peking Opera performer played by Chow Yun-fat.

Susan Shaw won best supporting actress for The Pye Dog while director Johnnie To's crime movie Mad Detective captured best screenplay.

Yau Nai-hoi won a best new director trophy for Eye in the Sky as the film's star, Kate Tsui, got a best newcomer award.

The Second World War thriller Lust, Caution from director Ang Lee won the prize for best Asian film.

The film's explicit sex scenes and its subject matter of a government that collaborated with the Japanese occupation have had a tough time on the mainland. Sex scenes were cut and one of the film's stars, Tang Wei, has been blacklisted by the Chinese government, meaning she's forbidden to appear on television and in awards shows.

Lee was not in Hong Kong for the film awards.

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