Chinese State media acknowledges Chloe Zhao award after earlier condemnation

Chinese state media, Global Times, has tweeted that Chloe Zhao has become the first “Asian woman to with an Oscar.”

A Tweet said: “Oscar Moment: #ChloeZhao wins best director at the #Oscars for her film #Nomadland. She is the first Asian woman to win the award.”

On March 16, the communist party mouthpiece, had said in article by Chen Xi, titled, ‘Chloe Zhao’s Oscar nominations for ‘Nomadland’ may not earn her forgiveness in China: experts,’ said, “many experts say it is unlikely for Nomadland to win Best Picture as The Trial of the Chicago 7 might be the biggest competitor.

“The Oscars pay special attention to political correctness and needs a work with a clear standpoint to express its stance,” Shi Wenxue, a film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Citing two experts the publication said “experts expressed their opinion that even if the front-running Zhao wins these honors, her previous controversial comments have “severely affected the release of Nomadland in the Chinese mainland.”

Nomadland was previously announced to be released in the Chinese mainland on April 23, but currently all information related to the movie on Chinese ticketing platforms, film review websites and social media has been removed.

“This greatly concerns Zhao herself. China just established an ethics committee for the film and television industry in December 2020, which means that illegal and immoral behavior, such as that of actress Zheng Shuang, will affect the works of people in the industry. Their works will never be released and they will have to pay compensation to the studios,” said Shi.

“Even if Nomadland wins and is finally released in the Chinese mainland, and the Oscar’s blessing may indeed attract some people into the theater, it will most likely cause some dissatisfaction among moviegoers who are unhappy with Zhao’s previous remarks, which may even lead to the extreme that people boycott the film. In fact, similar comments have already appeared on Sina Weibo before,” said Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai

Compared with Zhao’s nomination, Chinese netizens seem to be more excited about the Chinese film Better Days, which got a surprise nomination in the international feature film category.

The news delighted many Chinese netizens and quickly began trending on Chinese social media on Monday night with the related hashtag earning 620 million views by Tuesday afternoon.

“We have waited for this moment for too long! It’s a great honor for Better Days to be nominated this time,” one Chinese netizen commented on Sina Weibo, Global Times said.

Global Times had also questioned her Chineseness in another article, saying “Chinese netizens started to question the nationality of star director Zhao Ting, also known as Chloe Zhao.”

The article on March 2, said netizens “found some controversial comments that Zhao previously made during previous interviews with two overseas media outlets, which have now been deleted.”

Snapshots of Zhao’s interviews in Film Maker magazine’s article 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2013 and Australian media news.com.au in 2020 are being widely spread on Chinese social media.

Netizens found that the quote containing “It goes back to when I was a teenager in China, being in a place where there are lies everywhere” had been removed from the 25 New Faces of Independent Film article. However, the removed section can still be found on archived versions of the article as well as from other media outlets quoting the magazine.

Similarly, the sentence that “The US is now my country” had also been removed from a previous interview with news.com.au, but can be found on other media sites that referenced the article.

Many netizens wondered if the chances were made because Zhao’s PR team had asked for sensitive content to be removed, while the latter quote caused some to question Zhao’s nationality, the publication said.

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