Also competing for the best film award are Feng Xiaogang's Assembly, Wei Te-sheng's Cape No. 7, Liu Fendou's Ocean Flame and Gilles Yang's ORZ Boyz. Unusually, only Wei and Chan are represented in the best director category where they are joined by Pang Ho-cheung for Trivial Matters and Sylvia Chang for Run Papa Run.
Other films with multiple nominations include Cape No. 7 with nine nominations, Assembly with six nominations and Ocean Flame with five nominations. Films that are largely overlooked include John Woo's Red Cliff with four nominations inminor categories and Stephen Chow's CJ7 with just one nomination for best visual effects.
A three jury system has been introduced to cope with a 60% increase in the number of submissions, from 73 films in 2007 to 115 films in 2008. The initial 18-member jury consisted of six members each from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, reducing the initial selection to 75 entries. A second jury of 20 Taiwan filmmakers determined the final 31 nominated films.
Peggy Chiao, chairman of the Golden Horse Executive Committee, pointed out that this year nominations are equally divided between films from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Two Singapore features, Royston Tan's 12 Lotus and Jack Neo's Money No Enough 2, round out the selection with one nomination each.
Taiwan is particularly well-represented with eight narrative features, three documentaries and four short films. In addition to Cape No. 7 's nine nominations, Gilles Yang's ORZ Boyz secured four nominations while Cheng Hsiao-tse's Miao Miao, Chung Meng-hung's Parking, Tom Lin's Winds of September and Chiang Hsiu-chiung's short Hopscotch secured two nominations each.
The festival's lifetime achievement award will be given to 85-year-old actor Chang Feng and the special contribution award to veteran film critic and one-time scriptwriter Huang Jen. Director Wei Te-sheng and Lee Lung-yu, an active gaffer and occasional cinematographer, compete in the category of outstanding Taiwanese filmmaker of the year.
While previous year's editions have seen high-profile withdrawals from Chinese films that are not co-productions under pressure from SARFT, there are no obvious casualties in this year's selection. Director Liu Fendou insists that his violent and sexually explicit Ocean Flame is fully financed and fully shot in Hong Kong and therefore outside the jurisdiction of SARFT regulations.
Sponsors are likely to be disappointed for the second year in a row by a distinct lack of potential glamour in this year's lineup. The highest profile actress nominated is Taiwan-born Karena Lam. Other than Jet Li, the only recognisable actor is Hong Kong's Louis Koo. Only Taiwan-based actors, including Cape No. 7 's Japanese lead Chie Tanaka, compete for best new performer.
The award ceremony will be held in the central city of Taichung on 6 December.