BY DAISY WU
LOS ANGELES (China Daily Show) — It’s just over 24 hours to go until the stars begin walking down the red carpet at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater, and I, Daisy, start asking the really important questions – like, honey, what are you wearing?
But seriously, folks, forget The Artist. Forget Hugo. Forget George Clooney (I wish). The Iron Lady? I said – forget it!
I’m talking about whether our shorter cousins over the Pacific are in with a chance for an Oscar this year. I’m talking about China. Way I see it, they’ve got two shots: first up, summer bonkbuster The Founding of a Party, which– I’m told – is about some very old men in a room (yawn!) or The Flowers of Nanjing, which sounds like something a bit more for the ladies, starring dreamboat Christian Batman Bale and some other Chinese women.
To test the air, I hit the streets of LA for some old-fashioned “meet the public.”
Soon, I’m sitting in the bustling Hong Kim Seafood BBQ Restaurant, on Mei Ling Way, downtown LA, and let me tell you folks – it really feels like Chinatown here! Everybody is talking about one thing and one thing only –Jeremy Lin. But if they’ll just stop talking about basketball for one goddamned minute, it’s clear they also have one other thing on their minds: China!
“What do you think about China’s chances?” I ask one elderly diner. “For what?” he wonders, looking puzzled. It’s clear that no one’s told this senior about the big news this year. I slip him a dollar and move on.
“Are you excited about China’s chances for an Oscar,” I query a man calling himself “Josh” Wang, who’s smoking outside an office building. “Not really, I’m Taiwanese,” he starts to reply. Uh, what’s the difference, Josh?
Shaken by the somewhat bigoted – and often downright hostile – responses I keep finding on the street, I decide it’s time to talk to the experts. A short spin of my Rolodex (metaphorically, of course; these days I use an iPhone, made in… wait for it… yup, Hong Kong) and I’m in a cab heading over to the Hills for some top insider talk.
Sadly, when I arrive, I hit a wall: the reception is spotty, or something, because no one’s answering my calls. So step forward, Frank Marshall III Jr, who calls himself a “Sino-US Hollywood activist”. It sounds worryingly political! Frank invites me into his room, where he lays out the blueprints for an exciting proposal from the backers of that Founding of a Party movie, a company he calls “CCP.”
“We’d like to see them become investors in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and strengthen the bond between these two nations great, via harmonious cultural dialogue,” he explains over some jasmine tea. Hey, it all sounds like music to this reporter’s ears.
With a $5 billion sponsorship deal on the hook, the Academy would have to make a few changes – such as maybe renaming it the Golden Dragon Film Awards, maybe, that’s one possibility, there are others, cool it – but Frank insists the deal would in no way affect the impartiality of Academy members.
“They were already corrupt as hell before!” Frank laughs. “Don’t write that down. But seriously – Founding of a Party. That’s a great, great film. Did you see the bit with the Mao and the snowflakes? Pure movie magic.”
I haven’t, so I stay quiet. But I’ll watch anything with Christian Batman Bale, so it’s a dead cert I will at some point.
“This is a story about young love,” Frank adds. “A love between a charismatic librarian and his future wife. Between a traumatized nation and its future overlords…” Hey, Frank: stop talking about the Republicans. Daisy out…
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