Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s “Drive My Car” and Asghar Farhadi’s “A Hero,” two films that debuted in Cannes, emerge as the strong favorites for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, after nominations were announced on Wednesday.

Both films are nominated for best film, best directing, best screenplay and best performance by an actor.

The best film category is rounded out by nominations for India-France co-production “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” directed by India’s Payal Kapadia; “The Pencil” from Russia’s Natalya Nazarova; and “There is No Evil,” an Iran-Czech-Germany co-production directed by Mohammad Rasoulof that won the Golden Bear in Berlin.

Organizers said that nominations had gone to 38 films from 25 Asia Pacific countries and regions. Films from Japan and Iran each collected seven nominations. And, after 14 years, a representative from Vietnam (cinematographer Nguyen Vinh Phuc nominated for his work in Le Bao’s “Taste,” aka “Vi”) collected the country’s first APSA nomination.

But the APSA nominations represented a complete shut-out for both mainland China and Taiwan. That is in stark contrast to the Asian Film Awards, announced earlier this week in Busan, in which three Chinese films won four awards including the best director prize, which went to Zhang Yimou. The APSA nominations are also at odds with those for the Golden Horse Film Awards announced last week, in which Hong Kong’s “Drifting” and Taiwan’s “The Falls” each picked up nearly a dozen nods.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the region, the eligibility of films in competition this year was extended back to the end of 2019. This “[increased] the field and caliber of competition significantly,” APSA organizers said.

The best youth feature film award gives nominations to three emerging women directors with their debut or second features: Korea’s Yoon Dan-bi for “Moving On,” Afghan director Granaz Moussavi for “When Pomegranates Howl” and Saudi Arabia’s Shahad Ameen’s “Scales.”

The APSA winners will be decided by a yet-to-be-announced jury. The prizes will be presented on Nov. 11 at a ceremony at Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The prize ceremony will also see APSA prizes in three special categories: the Cultural Diversity Award under the patronage of UNESCO; the Young Cinema Award in partnership with NETPAC and GFS; and the FIAPF Award for Contribution to Asia Pacific Cinema. The recipients of the four MPA APSA Academy Film Fund grants will also be named.