TVB forgoes Academy Awards amid Beijing backlash

Heidi Hsia
·1-min read

30 Mar – The upcoming 93rd Academy Awards will not be broadcast in Hong Kong for the first time since 1969 amid backlash from mainland China regarding some of the nominees.

TVB - the official channel of the Academy Awards since 1969 - stated that it was nothing political. The broadcasting company revealed to the media recently that it has made the decision not to continue broadcasting the event this year, and that it was a "purely commercial consideration."

However, none of the other broadcasters like ViuTV, NowTV, and others have decided to pick up the rights.

The 'commercial consideration' reason given by TVB was not easily accepted by netizens, who stated that this year's event - more than ever - should be aired since a movie directed by Hong Kong director Derek Tsang, "Better Days", has been shortlisted in the Best International Feature Film category for the first time in 20 years. Moreover, Derek Tsang is also the son of TVB's new Deputy General Manager of Entertainment, Eric Tsang.

Derek Tsang (right) with his father, Eric Tsang (middle)
Derek Tsang (right) with his father, Eric Tsang (middle)
Derek Tsang's 'Better Days' is nominated in Best International Feature Film
Derek Tsang's 'Better Days' is nominated in Best International Feature Film

It is noted that China has previously called for a boycott against the said awards for nominating "Nomadland", the movie helmed by Chloe Zhao, the first female Asian filmmaker to earn a spot in the said awards. This comes after Zhao's past interviews calling the country where she grew up in a land "full of lies" were dug up by netizens.

Another title that angered China was Anders Hammer's documentary, "Do Not Split", which was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject. The documentary itself is about the anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (anti-ELAB) movement in Hong Kong.

The 93rd Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, 25th April 2021.

Anders Hammer's 'Do Not Split' records the protests in Hong Kong
Anders Hammer's 'Do Not Split' records the protests in Hong Kong

(Photo Source: Derek Tsang Instagram, Sundance Institute)