Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was the big winner at the 21st Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night (April 21), scoring seven of the 19 prizes, including best film and best director.

Chow also scooped the best actor and best new director awards, while his co-star Wong Yat Fei won best supporting actor. The film, which was nominated in 13 categories, also won prizes for sound design and visual effects.

Shaolin Soccer was last year's undisputed local box office champion, earning more than $7.7m (HK$60M), making it the highest-grossing Hong Kong film on record.

Karena Lam confirmed her status as one of Hong Kong's hottest new stars by winning best supporting actress and best new performer for her role in Ann Hui's July Rhapsody. Ivy Ho won best screenplay for the same film.

The Accidental Spy won awards for editing (Kong Chi Leung) and action coreography (Tung Wai and JC Stuntmen Team) Peony Pavilion also picked up two prizes - one for art direction (Lou Zhong & Yan Zhan Lin) and one for costume and make-up design (Yon Fan) Arthur Wong won best cinematography for Hui's Visible Secret.

The awards ceremony also had a few surprises. Hong Kong box office queen Sammi Cheng lost out to Sylvia Chang in the best actress category despite being nominated three times for Love On A Diet, Wu Yen and Fighting For Love. Chang took the award for her performance as the mother of an AIDS infected son in Raymond To's Forever And Ever. Meanwhile gay-themed melodrama Lan Yu came away empty handed despite having the second largest amount of nominations with 11 nods.

Japanese animation Spirited Away won the inaugural prize for best Asian film beating Taiwan's A One And Two, Korea's Happy End and China's Shower and Roots And Branches. The film was Hong Kong's top-grossing foreign-language release last year with a haul of $3.2m (HK$25m).


Best film
Shaolin Soccer - Exec prod, Yeung Kwok Fai

Best director
Stephen Chow - Shaolin Soccer

Best actor
Stephen Chow - Shaolin Soccer

Best actress
Sylvia Chang - Forever And Ever

Best supporting actor
Wong Yat Fei - Shaolin Soccer

Best supporting actress
Karena Lam - July Rhapsody

Best new performer
Karena Lam - July Rhapsody

Best screenplay
Ivy Ho - July Rhapsody

Best cinematography
Arthur Wong - Visible Secret

Best film editing
Kong Chi Yeung - The Accidental Spy

Best art direction
Lou Zhong Guo & Yan Zhan Lin - Peony Pavilion

Best costume & make-up design
Yon Fan - Peony Pavilion

Best original film song
Love On A Diet - Composer: Chan Fai Yeung. Lyric: Lin Xi. Sung by: Sammi Cheng

Best original film score
Steve Ho - My Life As McDull

Best action choreography
Tung Wai & JC Stuntmen Team - The Accidental Spy

Best sound design
Kinson Tsang - Shaolin Soccer

Best visual effects
Frankie Chung, Ken Law, Ronald To, Maurice Ng - Shaolin Soccer

Best Asian film
Spirited Away (Japan)