'Tokyo Sonata' hits high note at AFAs

Japanese films dominate Asian Film Awards

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HONG KONG -- The third Asian Film Awards spread the love around Sunday night, but Japan felt it a little bit more than its neighbors, earning wins in five of the event's 13 categories including best film, director and actor.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Tokyo Sonata" was the only film to nab more than one award, scoring trophies for best film and screenplay.

Japan's Kore-eda Hirokazu took home the best director trophy for "Still Walking," while Motoki Masahiro, star of the foreign-language Oscar winner "Departures," was named best actor.

Masahiro was one of three Japanese attendees who gave organizers a bit of a scare when their flights experienced long delays. The "Departures" star, best composer winner Hisaishi Joe (Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea") and supporting actress nominee Kiki Kirin ("Still Walking") were stuck on the tarmac in Narita International Airport after a cargo plane crash Monday morning caused delays out of the airport.

China made a strong showing in the actress categories, with Zhou Xun earning the best actress nod for "The Equation of Love and Death" and "Forever Enthralled's" Yu Shao-qun taking best newcomer.

The supporting actress award, meanwhile, went to Filipina Gina Pareno for her work in Brillante Mendoza's 2008 Cannes Competition title "Service."

Director Ji-woon Kim's so-called kimchi Western, "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," which led the race with eight nominations, won in just one category -- earning supporting actor for Jung Woo-sung.

Best cinematographer, awarded by a 13-member jury headed by Michelle Yeoh, went to Jola Dylewska for "Tulpan."

Other awards included best production design (Daniel Yan for "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon"), best editor ( Kim Sun-min for "The Chaser") and best visual effects (Craig Hayes for "Red Cliff").