Additional reporting by: Team xinmsn

Jeanette Aw, Zhou Ying and Rui En

The nomination list for this year's Star Awards 2011 came as a big surprise with hot favourites left in the cold for the running of Best Actor and Best Actress awards.

After a couple of supporting roles in local drama series, Zhou Ying landed her first big break as a headlining character Tang Ying in Ch8 blockbuster drama series, Breakout, last year.

For her efforts and stellar portrayal in the show as an orphaned girl who goes against all odds to reclaim her memory and losses, she gains a nod of approval with a Best Actress nomination in this year's Star Awards 2011.

"When I first heard the news, I immediately told my parents who were also in town for the Lunar New Year celebrations. This is the best New Year award I've received in 2011!

"I'm really happy and surprised," she gleefully professed in an interview with xinmsn.

Zhou Ying

Zhou Ying in Breakout

The Singapore-based actress will be going head on with local starlets like Rui En (With You) and Jeanette Aw (Breakout) for a go at the Best Actress award this year.

Talking about her competitors, Zhou Ying was full of praise for Rui En's woebegone role in With You and shared that she "closely followed" the series and "really loved" the latter's role in the show.

Alongside with Zhou Ying, this is also the first time Rui En is being nominated in the Best Actress award. She had a bountiful year appearing in three drama series (Happy Family, With You, and Unriddle) last year and garnered critical acclaim for her heartrending acting in With You.

Rui En was pleasantly surprised when told of her nomination and said, "This is my first time. It's a totally strange feeling for me."

Earlier before the nominations list was released, the actress waged a bet with her friends and assured them that she would not be nominated. She laughed and shared that she has to give her friends a meal treat now.