HONG KONG, Feb 2 (AP) -- Stephen Chow's action comedy "Kung Fu Hustle" and art house director Wong Kar-wai's romance "2046" are the top contenders at the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards, clinching a total 28 nominations, organizers said Tuesday.
The Hollywood-financed "Kung Fu Hustle," about kung fu masters who battl
e gangsters in their neighborhood, was the top nominee, with 16 nods in 18 available categories -- including best film. Chow directed and starred in the movie.
"2046," Wong's follow-up to the Cannes-winning "In the Mood for Love," was named in 12 categories, including best picture.
Other nominees in the best film category were the action thriller "New Police Story" starring Jackie Chan, and Derek Yee's "One Nite in Mongkok" about a Chinese assassin and a prostitute who cross paths in Hong Kong. Yee's film was nominated for 11 awards.
The remaining best film nominee is Johnnie To's "Breaking News" -- an action-packed battle between Hong Kong police and a mainland Chinese criminal.
"Kung Fu Hustle," "2046" and "One Nite in Mongkok" are all competing for five top honors: best film, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.
Hong Kong Film Awards Chairman Manfred Wong said 2004 was a year when Hong Kong's movie heavyweights flexed their muscles.
"Those with prowess further highlighted their status and influence in this industry," he told reporters after a news conference to announce the nominees.
Nominations were picked by more than 500 jurors drawn from Hong Kong's movie industry. The winners, who are picked by another group of industry insiders, will be announced in a March 27 ceremony.
Veterans lead the shortlist for best acting honors. Other than Chow for "Kung Fu Hustle" and Chan for "New Police Story," nominees include "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," star Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung, both for "2046," as well as Taiwan's Sylvia Chang for "Twenty Thirty Forty."
In "2046," Zhang portrays the lover of Leung, although his character is still nostalgic for his love affair depicted in "In the Mood for Love."
Cecilia Cheung is hoping to retain the best actress title for her performance in "One Nite in Mongkok." She won last year for "Lost in Time."
Newcomer Daniel Wu is a best actor nominee for "One Nite in Mongkok."
Conspicuously absent is Hong Kong heartthrob Andy Lau. Manfred Wong, the awards ceremony official, noted some of his strong performances came in non-Hong Kong productions, such as the martial arts movie "House of Flying Daggers" and the heist movie "A World Without Thieves."
The Chan family could pull a father-and-son acting award sweep. Jackie Chan's son, Jaycee, is nominated in the best new performer category for "The Twins Effect II."
Manfred Wong said the awards ceremony will also honor 100 years of Chinese film, with segments chronicling the development of the mainland Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong movie scenes.
Nominations in the top categories of the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony to be held March 27:
Best Film: "2046," "Breaking News," "Kung Fu Hustle," "One Nite in Mongkok," "New Police Story."
Best Director: Wong Kar-wai ("2046"), Johnnie To ("Breaking News"), Stephen Chow ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Derek Yee ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Benny Chan ("New Police Story").
Best Leading Actor: Tony Leung Chiu-wai ("2046"), Stephen Chow ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Alex Fong ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Daniel Wu ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Jackie Chan ("New Police Story").
Best Leading Actress: Zhang Ziyi ("2046"), Sylvia Chang ("Twenty Thirty Forty"), Yuen Qiu ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Cecilia Cheung ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Karena Lam ("Koma").
Best Supporting Actor: Yuen Wah ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Chan Kwok-kwan ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Chim Sui-man ("Driving Miss Wealthy"), Daniel Wu ("New Police Story"), Tony Leung Ka-fai ("Dumplings").
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Yeung ("Twenty Thirty Forty"), Maggie Shiu ("Breaking News"), Candy Lo ("Six Strong Guys"), Jenny Woo ("Yesterday Once More"), Bai Ling ("Dumplings").
Best New Performer: Jaycee Chan ("The Twins Effect II"), Huang Shengyi ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Race Wong ("AB-Normal Beauty"), Teresa Cheung ("Color Blossoms"), Tian Yuan ("Butterfly").
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu-fai, Kwan Pun-leung ("2046"), Pun Yiu-ming ("Leaving Me Loving You"), Poon Hang-sang ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Venus Keung ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Christopher Doyle ("Dumplings").
Best Screenplay: Wong Kar-wai ("2046"), Gordon Chan, Chung Kai-cheong ("A-1"), Stephen Chow, Tsang Kan-cheong, Lola Huo, Chan Man-keung ("Kung Fu Hustle"), Derek Yee ("One Nite in Mongkok"), Lilian Lee ("Dumplings").
Best Asian Film: "House of Flying Daggers" (China), "A World Without Thieves" (China), "Zatoichi" (Japan), "Old Boy" (South Korea), "Quill" (Japan).