Hong Kong drama “Drifting” leads Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Awards race with 12 nominations including best narrative feature and best adapted screenplay, organizers announced on Tuesday.

The film that revolves around the tragedy of homeless people in Hong Kong also earned a nomination for Jun Li in the best director category. Veteran actor Francis Ng, who plays a homeless drug addict battling for justice, was also nominated for best leading actor.

Since 2019, Beijing has operated a mainland Chinese boycott of the awards that for many years were seen as the highest accoladed for Chinese-language filmmaking. And in 2019 and 2020 most Hong Kong films and filmmakers also stayed away. This year’s list sees an uptick in the Hong Kong participation, but only in the cases of films that are unlikely ever to receive a release in mainland China.

The domination of “Drifting” in the race, however, is closely challenged by “The Falls,” Taiwan’s entry to the Venice Film Festival, drama “Till We Meet Again” and crime thriller “The Soul.” Each received 11 nominations including best narrative feature. Also competing in this category is the drama “American Girl.”

“The Falls” filmmaker Chung Mong-hong was also nominated for best director for his dramatic piece revolving around a mother-daughter relationship that is set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also competing for best director are Cheng Wei-hao for “The Soul,” Clara Law for “Drifting Petals” and Ho Wi-ding for “Terrorizers.”

The two female leads of “The Falls,” Alyssa Chia and Gingle Wang are compete for the best leading actress award. They face competition from Hong Kong’s Karena Lam and Caitlin Fang, who play a mother-daughter combo in “American Girl,” and Chen Shiang-chyi for “Increasing Echo.”
Chang Chen, who lost 12 kg and shaved his head to play the role of a cancer patient in “The Soul,” was nominated for best actor. Also nominated are Kai Ko, who plays a hustler in Taiwanese-Austrian production “Moneyboys,” Roy Chiu for “Man in Love” and Cheng Jen-shuo in “Gatao — The Last Stray.”

Hong Kong protest documentary “Revolution of Our Times” by Kiwi Chow and Hongkongers, which had a surprise screening at Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for best documentary feature.

The Fruit Chan-directed horror comedy “Coffin Homes,” which mocks Hong Kong people’s desperation for a home due to high rent, earned a nomination for best original screenplay for the script written by Chan and Jason Lam, as well as for best action choreography. Auteur Tsai Ming-liang’s short film “The Night,” filmed in Hong Kong 2019 capturing the cityscape during the protests, was nominated for best documentary short film.

All nominated films will be screened at the Golden Horse Film Festival, which kicks off on Nov. 11. The awards will be presented on Nov. 27 at a ceremony in Taipei.