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Oscar results leave some Chinese fans blue
2005-03-01 00:23:45 XinhuaEnglish

From L to R: Supporting actress Oscar

Cate Blanchett, best supporting actor Freeman, best actress

Oscar Hilary Swank and best actor Oscar Jamie Foxx.

BEIJING, Mar. 1-- Many moviegoers in China are dismayed that the Academy Awards have once again snubbed one of the US film industry's most distinguished members.

Martin Scorsese, whose latest work"The Aviator" was nominated in 11 categories, was upstaged in the two most crucial slots of Best Film and Best Director by"Million Dollar Baby," an intimate little film about boxing and euthanasia and directed by Clint Eastwood.

In a ceremony that lasted more than three hours, the academy gave the best director nod to Eastwood for"Million Dollar Baby."

That was only one of four top flight awards"Baby" won, including best actress for Hilary Swank, Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman and Best Picture.

By contrast, The Aviator won a few secondary awards and a Best Supporting Actress award for Cate Blanchett.

The ceremony held on Sunday night in Los Angeles was to be broadcast yesterday in China.

For Chinese fans, Scorsese's loss hit home. Scorsese has a sizable fan base in China, and his previously nominated works such as"Raging Bull,""Taxi Driver" and"Goodfellas" have been admired by ardent moviegoers here.

"This was truly a very cold night for Marty," said Ye Yundao, a programmer for a Guangzhou-based broadband film distributor.

As usual, the Oscar ceremony was a who's who of Hollywood insiders.

The retro glamour of Hollywood's 1930s and 40s golden era returned to Tinseltown when dazzling stars hit the Oscars red carpet in a cascade of jewels and lush, curvaceous gowns.

An elegant A-list cast of movie stars sashayed past hundreds of flashbulb-popping photographers, journalists and screaming fans at the greatest fashion show on earth that precedes the Academy Awards.

"The Aviator" star DiCaprio, nominated as best actor for his portrayal of Howard Hughes, and his Brazilian supermodel girlfriend Gisele Bundchen mixed with the likes of best actress Swank.

"To tell you the truth I could care less about fashion," said DiCaprio, who traded his trademark jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap for a black Prada suit and tie for the festivities that drew 3,300 all-star guests.

The festive, 1930s theme could have been lifted straight from DiCaprio's movie but, while it may have hit the stars, it did not spread among the Academy, which chose to sideline"Aviator" director Scorsese and his glitzy movie.

"I feel so sorry for him," said Ye.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in the film based on the life of eccentric millionnaire Howard Hughes, was also bypassed in favour of Jamie Foxx in the Best Actor category.

DiCaprio has a much bigger following in China due to the immense popularity of"Titanic," and fans were rooting for him even though insider predictions had always pointed to Foxx, whose performance in"Ray" had won him a string of accolades.

However, industry watchers were not surprised by the turn of events. Jipin Yingchong, a columnist and film critic for Movie View, a film magazine, correctly predicted all major winners.

"Million Dollar Baby is a remarkable film. It touches on your heart strings. It packs an emotional wallop, yet it's very subtle and never over the top," he said."It deserves all the awards."

Cao Kai, an editor at World Screen, another film magazine, agreed.

"The Aviator has the look of a blockbuster fancy clothes and great scenes, but it seems a bit hollow at heart."

Yun Feiyang, a Beijing-based freelancer who writes for various entertainment platforms, praised the Academy Award for"finally showing some character."

But he added that he sympathized with Martin Scorsese and felt he should have been honuored a long time ago.

Blockbusters like"Titanic" and"Gladiator" have been crowd-pleasers in China, but an audience with discriminating taste is emerging, supported by a slew of film magazines and a torrent of new DVD releases.

Small productions like"Million Dollar Baby" and"Sideways" are avidly reviewed and dissected by a core of discerning critics.

Interest in the Oscar ceremony is so high that CCTV's movie channel has started broadcasting the show in recent years.

But there is a long tape delay because it needs a dozen hours for translation to get it ready for local primetime.

To fill in the void, many websites offer a live transcription of the show, where overseas commentators give descriptions and domestic enthusiasts who cannot watch the show live join in discussions in online chat-rooms.

Yesterday, Chinese audiences showed special interest in Zhang Ziyi, a Chinese star who was a co-presenter of the special effects award, and Zhao Xiaoding, cinematographer for"House of Flying Daggers," who was nominated but lost. Also drawing attention was Yo-Yo Ma, the Chinese American cellist, who gave a solo performance.

(Source: China Daily)

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