Four artists have been nominated for this year's Turner Prize, with film and sculpture dominating the shortlist.
Artist Mark Leckey has been included for his solo exhibition Industrial Light & Magic, which features cartoon characters such as Felix the Cat.
Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes uses shop dummies in many of her installations. Runa Islam and Goshka Macuga are also in the running.
The winner of the £25,000 award will be announced on 1 December.
The Turner Prize has traditionally been won by bizarre and often controversial work.
Previous recipients include Gilbert and George, Damien Hirst, and transvestite potter Grayson Perry.
Wilkes' work features a female mannequin perched on a toilet with a bowl with left-over bits of dried porridge at her feet.
Dr Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize judges, said the prize did not exist to shock.
"You never know what people are going to be shocked by - or say what they are going to be shocked by - so we will have to wait and see what emerges at the exhibition.
"I should think 50% of the art world will say they hate the list, and 50% will say they love the list," he told the BBC News website.
"The general public look to the Turner Prize to introduce them to what is new.
"It is not about giving good service medals to artists who have been around for a long time; it is about spotting emerging trends that are especially interesting."
Last year Mark Wallinger, the artist whose work includes dressing up as a bear, took the prize for his replica of Brian Haw's anti-war protest in Parliament Square.
Polish-born nominee Goshka Macuga lives and works in London
The award was presented at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool - this year's European capital of culture - rather than London, for the first time in its history.
But the prize will return to Tate Britain in London this year, where each of the shortlisted artists will showcase their work at an exhibition which opens on 30 September.
Only three females have won the prize since its first year in 1984.
Three women feature in this year's shortlist, including Islam, who was born in Bangladesh and lives and works in London.
The Tate described her as exploiting classic cinematic techniques in her work - such as lighting, colour and cinematography - in order to invite an emotional response from the viewer.
Her work includes Be The First To See What You See As You See It (2004), which has a woman dressed in white wandering around a gallery space of fragile porcelain pieces, before throwing them to the floor.
Polish-born Macuga, 41, works as a "cultural archaeologist".
TURNER PRIZE ODDS
5/6 Mark Leckey
11/4 Cathy Wilkes
4/1 Goshka Macuga
8/1 Runa Islam
She merges the roles of collector, curator and artist to create dynamic - and often theatrical - sculptural installations, the Tate said.
Wilkes has been nominated for her solo exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery, which is said to have shown her personal approach to figurative sculpture.
Leckey, 43, who is described as "a modern-day dandy", admits he has "a slight obsession" with Felix the Cat, who appears in his work.
Dr Deuchar added: "The shortlist is made up of individuals so selected for their individual merits rather than because, as a group, they exemplify some particular trend in contemporary British art."
Bookmaker Ladbrokes had Leckey as 5/6 favourite to win following a run of bets.
Spokesman Nick Weinberg said: "We would usually expect the early money to be distributed amongst the contenders. But it's been one-way traffic for Mark Leckey."