'Soul Mate' leads Hong Kong Film Awards nominees with 12

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, file photo, Chinese actress Ma Sichun arrives at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan. Romance drama “Soul Mate” has charmed the Hong Kong Film Awards. The coming-of-age tale of two girls falling for the same boy received 12 nominations, with Ma and Zhou Dongyu both getting nods in the best actress category. The awards ceremony is on April 9. (AP Photo/Billy Dai, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, file photo, Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu arrives at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan. Romance drama “Soul Mate” has charmed the Hong Kong Film Awards. The coming-of-age tale of two girls falling for the same boy received 12 nominations, with Zhou and Ma Sichun both getting nods in the best actress category. The awards ceremony is on April 9. (AP Photo/Billy Dai, File)
FILE: In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, file photo, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka-fai poses on the red carpet of the Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong. Leung is trailing closely with 10 nominations is the cop thriller “Cold War II,” nominated as best film, screenplay, cinematography and best actor in the Hong Kong Film Awards on April 9. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, file photo, Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, right, and Ma Sichun hold their award for Best Leading Actress at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan. Romance drama “Soul Mate” has charmed the Hong Kong Film Awards. The coming-of-age tale of two girls falling for the same boy received 12 nominations, with Zhou and Ma both getting nods in the best actress category. The awards ceremony is on April 9. (AP Photo/Billy Dai)

HONG KONG — Romance drama "Soul Mate" has charmed the Hong Kong Film Awards.

The coming-of-age tale of two girls falling for the same boy received 12 nominations, with Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun both getting nods in the best actress category. Their dual nominations are not unprecedented — the co-stars both won the category at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards last year.

The film, its screenplay and director Derek Tsang also received nominations, which were announced Tuesday by two of last year's winners, "Port of Call" co-stars Aaron Kwok and Elaine Jin.

Trailing closely with 10 nominations is the cop thriller "Cold War II," nominated as best film, screenplay, cinematography and best actor, Tony Leung Ka Fai.

In the best film category, both films will compete alongside the comedy "Mermaid," the baseball film "Weeds on Fire" and crime thriller "Trivisa."

The best directory category is a battle between veterans and new talent. Three-time winner Johnnie To is nominated for crime drama "Three" while 2002's best actor and director winner Stephen Chow is nominated for "Mermaid." Director Derek Tsang from "Soul Mate," Wong Chun from "Mad World" and Frank Hui, Jevons Au and Vicky Wong from "Trivisa" are all just beginning to make their mark in film direction.

In the best actress category, Zhou and Ma face competition from Tang Wei for "Book of Love," Kara Wai in "Happiness" and Nina Paw from "Show Me Your Love."

Leung is joined in the best actor category by Francis Ng in "Shed Skin Papa," Shawn Yue in "Mad World" and "Trivisa" co-stars Richie Jen and Lam Ka Tung.

Kwok expressed pride in Leung's performance, even though he wasn't nominated for his own role in "Cold War II."

"I never doubt myself, but I think the jury members have their point of views, their preferences and angles," he said at the news conference. "It's not a problem that I'm not nominated. I'm still very confident in myself."

The Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony is on April 9.

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