Taipei - Black Coal, Thin Ice, a bleak Chinese detective thriller starring Gwei Lun-mei that won a Golden Bear at Berlin, is going to the Golden Horse Awards as the red-hot favourite with a leading eight nominations.
In the nominations announced on Wednesday, the movie was named for Best Film, Best Director for Diao Yinan, Best Actor for Liao Fan, and Best Actress for Gwei, among other awards, said China Times today.
Blind Massage, a Chinese drama about sight-impaired message therapists, is the next hottest film with seven nods, including Best Film and Best Director for Lou Ye.
Best Film went to Ilo Ilo last year in a historic win for Singapore. The other nominees for the top prize this year are The Golden Era, Hong Kong director Ann Hui's biopic of Chinese writer Xiao Hong; Kano, a Taiwanese baseball drama; and A Fool, a Chinese village drama.
Besides Chinese films, mainland stars including Gong Li, Tang Wei and Vicki Zhao also dominate the competition.
Gong, who plays an amnesiac wife in the Zhang Yimou-directed romance Coming Home, was nominated for Best Actress, alongside Tang, who stars as Xiao in The Golden Era, and Zhao, who plays a mother who might have raised an abducted child in the Peter Chan-directed melodrama Dearest.
The other nominees are Taiwanese actresses Gwei, who stars as a widowed femme fatale in Black Coal, Thin Ice, and Chen Shiang-chyi, who plays a lonely middle-aged woman in the drama Exit.
Chinese star Liao, who is in the running for Best Actor, won a Silver Bear for his role in Black Coal, Thin Ice as a drunken former detective following a trail of dismembered bodies that leads him to the widow.
His fellow Golden Horse nominees include Hong Kong's Lau Ching Wan for the cop drama The White Storm, Taiwan's Chang Chen for the martial arts film Brotherhood Of Blades and Japan's Masatoshi Nagase for Kano.
Chen Jianbin, the Chinese television star who played the Yongzheng emperor in the 2011 hit show Empresses In The Palace, won three nominations for his directorial debut, A Fool: Best Actor, Best New Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
He was also named for Best Supporting Actor for Paradise In Service, Taiwanese director Doze Niu's film about a military brothel. His fellow nominees in the category are Wang Xuebing for A Fool, Ng Man Tat for the family dramedy Aberdeen, Leon Dai for the rape accusation drama (Sex) Appeal, and Chin Shih-chieh for Brotherhood Of Blades.
For Best Supporting Actress, the nominees are Hao Lei for The Golden Era, Paw Hee Ching for the suspense film Insanity, Lang Tsu-yun for the crime comedy Sweet Alibis, and Regina Wan and Ivy Chen, both for Paradise In Service.
Besides Diao and Lou, the other Best Director nominees are Hui for The Golden Era; Taiwan's Midi Z. for Ice Poison, a tale of drug users in his native Myanmar; and China's Wang Xiaoshuai for Red Amnesia, a mystery surrounding a survivor of the Cultural Revolution.
The winners will be announced on Nov 22.