'Bodyguards' gets 19 HKFA noms

'Red Cliff II,' 'Overheard' also compete for best movie

HONG KONG -- An action thriller about kung fu masters protecting modern China's founding father Sun Yat-sen has garnered 19 nominations at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards, including best movie, best director and best leading actor.

Besides "Bodyguards and Assassins," the other top contenders among nominees announced Tuesday are John Woo's historical epic "Red Cliff II" -- with 13 nominations -- and the police thriller "Overheard," which has six.

The three movies are competing for best picture honors against Jackie Chan's "Shinjuku Incident" and "KJ: Music and Life" -- a documentary about a Hong Kong music prodigy.

Chan's drama about an illegal Chinese immigrant turned gangster in Japan hasn't received much attention because director Derek Yee, worried about the violence in the movie, didn't release the film in China.

In the best director category, Woo will face off against Yee, "Bodyguards and Assassins" creator Teddy Chan, "Overheard" filmmakers Alan Mak and Felix Chong, and Ann Hui, who made the family drama "Night and Fog."

Hong Kong's Simon Yam is double nominated in the best actor contest. The veteran is in contention for playing a physically abusive husband in "Night and Fog" and a cobbler in "Echoes of the Rainbow." Yam's competitors are Wang Xueqi from "Bodyguards and Assassins," Lau Ching-wan from "Overheard" and Aaron Kwok, who portrayed a policeman turned murder suspect in "Murderer."

China's Zhang Jingchu, who played Yam's wife in "Night and Fog," is up for best actress, along with Wai Ying-hong from "At the End of Daybreak," Shu Qi from "Look for a Star," Sandra Ng from "Echoes from the Rainbow" and Zhao Wei, who portrayed the Chinese folk hero Hua Mulan.

The winners will be announced April 18.
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