Chinese awards give nods to Ziyi, Woo

HONG KONG: "Farewell My Concubine" director Chen Kaige, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Zhang Ziyi and director John Woo were among the filmmakers honoured at China's government-organised Huabiao film awards in Beijing.

Veteran action stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li and actor Chow Yun-fat also walked the red carpet at the biennial awards ceremony held by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television late Saturday.

This year's ceremony was especially star-studded because the booming mainland market is becoming increasingly lucrative to actors and directors from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The awards have a reputation for honouring propaganda films but have incorporated commercial cinema.

Chen was named outstanding director along with Feng Xiaogang.

Chen was honoured for his biopic of late Peking Opera star Mei Lanfang, "Forever Enthralled." Feng won for his war movie "Assembly," which revolves around the heroics of a People's Liberation Army unit during the Chinese civil war in the 1940s.

Chen struck a patriotic note in his acceptance speech, shooting down recent speculation that he had become an American citizen.

"I don't plan to become a foreign citizen and I have never done so. I will work hard to spread Chinese culture as a Chinese national. This is called not forgetting your identity," Chen said.

Zhang shared best actress honours with Fan Zhibo for her performance as Mei's love interest in "Forever Enthralled." Fan won for the drama "Emergency." Zhang Hanyu won best actor for "Assembly." He shared best acting honours with Guo Jinglin, who starred in a biopic of rice scientist Yuan Longping.

Woo received the prize for best ethnic Chinese director from outside mainland China. The Hong Kong native, known for his stylish action thrillers, recently returned from Hollywood to make the $80 million, two-part Chinese-language historical epic "Red Cliff," which was a massive hit in China, earning 600 million Chinese yuan ($88 million).

Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen was named best ethnic Chinese actor outside mainland China for playing Bruce Lee's kung fu master Ip Man. Taiwan's Shu Qi won best actress outside the mainland for her role in Feng's romantic comedy "If You Are the One."