Veteran Hong Kong film director Ann Hui (許鞍華), who will chair the jury at next month's Golden Horse Film Festival Awards, said yesterday an overwhelming number of good entries had made choosing nominees incredibly difficult.
Acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai's (王家衛) much-hyped 2046 led the way with eight nominations announced Wednesday for the 41st Golden Horse Film Festival Awards, which showcases cinematic talent from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Singapore.
Some 21 awards will be handed out at a glittering red-carpet ceremony in Taichung on Dec. 4, and Wong's opus faces stiff competition for best film from two other Hong Kong movies -- Johnnie To's (杜琪峰) Breaking News and Derek Yee's (爾冬陞) One Nite in Mongkok -- as well as China-made Kekexili: Mountain Patrol and Taiwan's The Moon Also Rises.
"It was very difficult to select the nominations this year because there were a lot more entries this year than last," said Hui, a darling of film festivals around the world but who is sitting on the Golden Horse jury for the first time.
"We spent a lot of time choosing the films. We even had to watch some more than once to make a decision," she said.
Hui and her seven fellow judges spent 16 days watching all the entries, viewing up to seven films a day.
"I've never seen so many films in such a short time. But it was enjoyable and educational. The overall quality of the films was very good. So it was difficult to choose which to nominate," she said.
Golden Horse Award categories are styled on the Academy Awards, but they are decided by a jury along the lines of the more independent-minded Cannes film festival.
This year's festival will screen 113 movies and 78 short films from at least 20 countries between Nov. 25 and Dec. 5. More than 100,000 tickets are available for showings at complexes in Taipei and Taichung.
"We received as many as 77 film entries this year including 58 feature films, 14 short films and three documentaries from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Singapore," Zoe Chen, a spokeswoman of the Golden Horse Film Festival said of the films eligible for awards.
Hong Kong director Wong was snubbed in the best director category but 2046 was nominated for awards including best feature film, leading actor (Hong Kong's Tony Leung), leading actress (China's Zhang Ziyi, 章子怡), sound effects, make-up and costume design, and original film score.
The films nominated for best director include three from Hong Kong -- Fruit Chan (陳果) for Three ... Extremes: Dumplings, Johnnie To for Breaking News and One Nite in Mongkok -- as well as China's Lu Chuan (陸川) for Kekexili: Mountain Patrol.
The festival will be held outside Taipei for a fourth time in its history to promote local tourism.