Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard are so taken with a recently viewed final cut of Curse of the Golden Flower (opening 12.22) that they’ve decided to launch Oscar campaigns for the two principal talents — star Gong Li for Best Actress, and helmer Zhang Yimou for Best Director.

Flower reunites these legends of modern Chinese cinema for the first time since the mid ’90s following their collaboration on films such as Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern, To Live and Shanghai Triad (all but one made during their passionate and very public extra-marital love affair that lasted about six years). “They’re now working together at their peak of their talents,” Barker has told The Envelope’s Tom O’Neil. “They’ve created a film of great dramatic tension and visual splen- dor…we’re really excited.”