Academy Awards: The Demolition Brigade, Stars of the U.S.’ “Chinese New Year Gala”?

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards have come to a close, with an unexpected loss for the popular film “Avatar.” Its rival, “The Hurt Locker,” took home a total of six awards which included Best Picture and Best Director, making Kathryn Bigelow the first woman in Oscar history to win the Best Director award, whereas “Avatar” only won three pathetic technological awards.

According to one expert’s opinion, the Oscars make up for the United States’ lack of a State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The Oscars are just like the Chinese New Year Gala. We don’t know whether or not Americans watch the Chinese New Year Gala, and the Oscars are normally none of our business, but the media deliberately makes life difficult. Reading the newspaper these past few days has made me incredibly angry. This year March 8th marks the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day and in the Oscars’ 82-year history, Bigelow is the first female to win Best Director. However, newspaper headlines are full of phrases like “the “‘Avatar’ director’s ex-wife.” She is a fine career woman who is suddenly written off as being “someone’s wife.” Gender equality has a long way to go.

There are people who look ahead to the future, unlike those of us who don’t get the big picture. During the NPC (National People’s Congress) and CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) annual conferences, a member of CPPCC said that thus far, “Avatar” has had a worldwide net profit of $1.9 billion, equivalent to 13 billion RMB. Over the past year, China’s per capita net income for rural residents was 5,153 RMB. “Avatar’s” net income is equivalent to approximately the total net income of 2.51 million Chinese farmers in 2009. These numbers tell us that developing the cultural sector is urgent and imperative. China needs to have its own “Avatar.”

The problem is that although we can’t say “Avatar” is everywhere in China, it is definitely nothing new. According to newspaper reports, everywhere from Beijing to Guangdong to Hainan, there have been people putting up heroic banners at demolition sites that say “We Are Avatars,” and some also staged a live-action version of “Avatar.” Even in Tsoi Yuen Tsuen, Hong Kong, residents affected by demolition to make way for the high-speed rail booked a whole theater to watch the 3D version. It is said that the many uncles and aunties [Editor’s note: this is a respectful way to refer to an older generation in Chinese] that were watching were in tears. After seeing this movie’s influence on all levels of society, it’s hard for Chinese people to understand it losing Best Picture to “The Hurt Locker.”

However, Americans don’t think so. “Avatar” brings new challenges to the film industry; not only is it important for the future development of the films, it also affects the jobs of many Hollywood employees. Just imagine: if everything was computerized, from then on, movie stars could just scan their faces into the computer and go home to sleep; there would be no need for actors. Therefore, when voting, it goes without saying that Hollywood needs to “unite” and fight to strangle the monster of “dissimilation” in its crib. “The Hurt Locker” is different; its reflection on the theme of the Iraq war is politically correct and in line with Hollywood’s left-wing anti-war Liberal values. This win was not without justification.

In evaluating Hollywood and the Oscars, people insist on following their own interests, hence, the sound of “we need our own ‘Avatar,’ we need our own Oscars” is ringing in our ears. I do not agree. The U.S. has the Oscars, we have our Chinese New Year Gala; the U.S. has a bomb squad (“The Hurt Locker”), we have a demolition brigade. When we compare ourselves in this way, who fears whom in the world is not obvious. The issue is that their bomb squad was able to attend the Oscars, and took home the top award; our demolition brigade goes anywhere and everywhere, just not the Chinese New Year Gala. Some netizens made a few changes to the Chinese movie poster of “The Hurt Locker,” making the title of the movie into “The Demolition Brigade.” It looks almost exactly the same, and is often seen on the cover of pirated copies of the movie, marked by the award-winning olive branch symbol. At this stage, a Best Picture win for a Chinese film can only be in our dreams.

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