The 12th annual ACE Awards show, hosted by James Woods, will be televised simultaneously on eight cable networks from the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday night.

The 2 1/2-hour show, recognizing cable excellence, will be carried by Black Entertainment Television, The Discovery Channel, The Family Channel, HA! The TV Comedy Network, Lifetime, Nick at Nite, TBS and TNT.From a record 1,773 entries (up 266 from a year ago) there are 361 nominees in the 82 categories. Nominees for the five high-profile awards are:

Best Movie or Mini-series: TNT's "Heat Wave," "The Last Elephant" and "Max and Helen," along with HBO's "Age-Old Friends" and "The Image."

Best Comedy Special: HBO's "Comic Relief '90," "Billy Crystal: Midnight Train to Moscow" and "Not Neccessarily The News: Summer Edition," along with The Disney Channel's "A Conversation With Betty White" and Ha! The TV Comedy Network's "The Unnaturals."

Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-series: Hume Cronyn (HBO's "Age-Old Friends"), Albert Finney (HBO's "The Image"), Aidan Quinn and Brian Dennehy (HBO's "Perfect Witness") and Martin Landau (TNT's "Max and Helen").

Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-series: Gena Rowland (TNT's "Montana"), Faye Dunaway (TNT's "Cold Sassy Tree"), Cicely Tyson (TNT's "Heat Wave"), Madolyn Smith Osborne (TNT's "The Rose and the Jackal") and Elizabeth McGovern (HBO's "Women and Men: Stories of Seduction: The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt.").

Best Performance in a Music Special or Series: Diana Ross ("HBO World Stage: Diana's World Tour"), Rolling Stones (Showtime's "Rolling Stones: Terrifying"), Paula Abdul (MTV's "1989 MTV Video Music Awards"), Yo-Yo Ma (Arts and Entertainment's "Yo-Yo Ma: A Month at Tanglewood") and Evelyn Glennie (Bravo's "The South Bank Show: Evelyn Glennie").

The nominees for ACE awards, which were created in 1985 to credit and promote excellence in cable television programming, come from 29 program networks. Approximately one-third of the winners will be revealed during the live show. Others were announced at a dinner Friday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The two major special awards are The Golden Ace, this year going to The Weather Channel for its coverage of Hurricane Hugo; and The Governor's Award, going to Tom Preston, president and CEO of MTV.

ACE presenters include Kim Alexis, Blair Brown, Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman, Terry Gilliam, Nancy Glass, Eric Idle, Diane Ladd, Martin Landau, Elizabeth McGovern, Minnie Pearl, Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowland, Mort Sahl, Peter Scolari, Cicely Tyson, Jon Voight, Kurt Vonnegut and Ruth Westheimer. James Earl Jones will host a segment honoring boxing greats. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Tommy Hearns, Evander Holyfield, Jimmy McLarnin and Ken Norton are scheduled to appear.

The 10 networks with the most nominations are: HBO, 100; Showtime and TNT, 31 each; Arts and Entertainment, 30; The Disney Channel, 26; ESPN, 22; The Discovery Channel, 18; CNN, 15; Lifetime and MTV, 12 each.