A surprise Oscar bid

By Han Bingbin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-10-16 06:50:08

A surprise Oscar bid

The Nightingale tells the story of a Beijing man who takes his granddaughter on a nostalgic trip back to their hometown. Photo provided to China Daily

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The Nightingale, on the other hand, features the more universal issues of family and social change, and this is a more reasonable choice. Sina Entertainment also noted that The Nightingale is a timely piece, given that China and France are now celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties.

Since 1981, the Chinese mainland has submitted an entry almost every year for the best foreign language film Oscar. Since then, four movies from the Chinese mainland have been nominated, beginning with Zhang Yimou's 1991 work Ju Dou, starring Gong Li. But none has ever won.

The best foreign language film category became widely known to the Chinese public after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won the category as a Taiwan entry in 1991. Thanks to media expansion and industry growth, the Chinese mainland's entry has always been a hot topic.

Taipei-based film critic Mai Jo-yu, who served as a member of Taiwan's selection committee for Oscar entries, told the Southern Metropolis Daily that the film award prefers movies with a light take on historical and political background, a focus on human nature and evolution of human emotions and last but not least, something out of the Hollywood horizon.

Although Oscar-winning best foreign language films have often saluted universal values such as love, freedom and independence, says film critic and Alibaba Pictures' director Yang Jinsong, it's hardly an award with "the highest artistic authority".

"The best foreign language film category is but an after-dinner dessert of mainstream American local awards," he says.

It's also a channel for the Oscars to establish relations with industry authorities in different regions, adds Yang, as proved by the fact that the entries should be selected by regional industry administrators only. China's entry, for example, is selected by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Film, Radio and Television.

"It means the movies chosen are not necessarily the best, but rather the most appropriate," he says.

The real value of being nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar is to push for future market share in America. Nominees usually already have American distribution companies, Yang says.

"Without local distribution companies as push power, those movies can hardly make it onto the final list," he says.

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