With such a varied mix winners from around the world at Sunday’s Oscars, local media has been awash with praise as news of victories spread from Los Angeles to Seoul, and Copenhagen to London — but not so much in China.
As expected, Chinese state media has largely ignored Sunday’s Oscars, with no discernible mention of the ceremony or its historic victories for China-born Nomadland filmmaker Chloe Zhao who became only the second woman and first Asian woman to win the Best Director Academy Award. However, the Global Times posted an op-ed late Monday local time. That piece, titled “Nomadland Reminds Those Caught Between US-China Rivalry To Keep Faith,” calls Zhao’s wins “good,” but adds, “We hope she can become more and more mature.” It also notes, “Worsening bilateral ties are squeezing the room for cultural exchanges between peoples from the two countries. People who are trying to explore opportunities in this field will encounter troubles and disturbances unseen in the past. They will find it hard to please both sides.”
The China reaction, or lack thereof, is ultimately unsurprising given that the Chinese government had told local media to curb coverage of the Oscars after alleged past comments by Zhao were unearthed following her Golden Globes win and with the nomination of Do Not Split, a documentary short about the Hong Kong protests. The ceremony did not air live in China for the first time in many years.
Hong Kong’s leading broadcaster also did not air the Oscars, for the first time in over five decades, having maintained this was a commercial decision. Hong Kong media is covering the outcome today including the local version of Apple Daily, the praiseful Headline Daily and the Hong Kong Economic Times which posted video of Zhao’s acceptance speech. The latter outlet noted that Zhao had referenced classic Chinese text San Zi Jing in her comments from Union Station.
One of Zhao’s fellow directing nominees, Thomas Vinterberg, took the Best International Feature prize with Another Round, marking the fourth time Denmark has won that race. Denmark didn’t hide its pride today when the country’s official Twitter account exclaimed, “This is huge for a small country like Denmark.”
This is huge for a small country like Denmark😍
It's the 4th time that a 🇩🇰 film wins in this category and we're over the moon that it has happened again.
Congratulations to all involved🌟 pic.twitter.com/5Mc3RrfGIl
— Denmark.dk (@denmarkdotdk) April 26, 2021
Denmark likewise hailed Mikkel EG Nielsen for taking the Best Film Editing Oscar for Sound of Metal, a first for a Dane.
Vinterberg gave one of the most moving speeches of the night, with an emotional tribute to his late daughter, while Minari Best Supporting Actress winner Youn Yuh-jung also provided some memorable moments. At home in Korea, she is being hailed for her triumph as the first Korean to scoop an Oscar for acting. From the Yonhap News Agency, to the Korea Herald, Korea Times, Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and Joong Ang Daily, coverage is front and center.
Politicians have also weighed in with Korean president Moon Jae-in offering his congratulations. “Above all, it is big consolation for the people who are tired of COVID-19,” he wrote and said the win had written a new chapter in Korean film history. After Parasite became the first Korean film to win Best International Feature, Best Director and Best Picture, this year’s first acting nod for the country is significant, particularly given the strength of its local industry. Moon also wrote that Minari’s story of an immigrant family demonstrates that “we are all closely connected even if we live in different places” (translation courtesy of Yonhap).
배우 윤여정 님의
아카데미 여우조연상 수상을
국민과 함께 축하합니다. pic.twitter.com/IkqWIL0SRj
— 문재인 (@moonriver365) April 26, 2021
Meanwhile, the UK Culture Minister Oliver Dowden hailed “Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Kaluuya – two phenomenal British actors who have done the UK proud today. Huge congratulations”on your wins and thank you for sharing your extraordinary talents with the world”.
Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Kaluuya – two phenomenal British actors who have done the UK proud today.
Huge congratulations on your #Oscars wins and thank you for sharing your extraordinary talents with the world.
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) April 26, 2021
Dowden also lauded Brit Emerald Fennell for her Best Original Screenplay win for Promising Young Woman: “It’s fantastic to see the brilliant British talent behind the camera being recognised at the Oscars too. Congratulations to @EmeraldFennell on her Best Original Screenplay win – a promising young woman indeed.”
It’s fantastic to see the brilliant British talent behind the camera being recognised at the #Oscars too.
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) April 26, 2021
France’s Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot tweeted this morning “What joy, what pride!” in reacting to French filmmaker Florian Zeller’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Father. She also noted other French winners like Nicolas Becker who shared Best Sound for Sound Of Metal and Alice Doyard, producer of Documentary Short laureate Colette. News radio and online outlets have also been enthusiastic.
Quelle joie, quelle fierté!
Bravo à #FlorianZeller, #oscar du meilleur scénario adapté pour #TheFather et à son immense premier rôle @AnthonyHopkins, à #NicolasBecker, oscar du meilleur son pour #SoundofMetal et à @AliceDoyard pour son touchant court-métrage documentaire Colette.
— Roselyne Bachelot (@R_Bachelot) April 26, 2021
Turning back to China, Nomadland was originally scheduled for an April 23 release but has since been shelved with no word as to future plans. China in March censored online discussions of Nomadland or Zhao/ For the film to get a release, and perhaps more crucially — in box office terms — for Disney/Marvel’s The Eternals, which Zhao also directed, to secure its spot, China watchers have previously told us Zhao will need to clarify her eariler reported remarks and meet China “at least part of the way.”