More Oscar-nominated movies are finally hitting theaters in China, empowering domestic audiences to feel a closer connection with the world's top global film contest.
The 90th Oscars ceremony was held Sunday evening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, while Chinese internet users found several nominated movies have been or will be released in China.
The Shape of Water, a fantasy flick about a woman who falls in love with a sea monster, led the pack with four total wins. The film will reportedly be released on March 16 in the Chinese mainland, news site yangtse.com reported.
Including The Shape of Water, four of the nine nominees for best picture will have been shown on the Chinese mainland by the end of March. Darkest Hour and Dunkirk were released in China in 2017, and the well-liked Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is currently in Chinese theaters.
Of last year's nominees, five were eventually shown in China: La La Land, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester By the Sea and Lion. That represented a marked improvement on 2016's two nominees shown in China: The Martian and The Revenant.
A series of film industry cooperation agreements have been signed between China and the U.S. since 2015 and a national union of artistic film projection was set up in 2016 in China.
"The new mechanism has opened a green channel for Hollywood films as well as U.S. independent films to enter China," Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based film critic told the Global Times on Tuesday.
China's blockbuster Wolf Warrior II was submitted for best foreign-language category at the 90th Oscars, but failed to be nominated.
"Picking a movie to submit was an 'act of State,' while the Oscar has its own standard for evaluation, a standard that does not focus on whether the product bolstered national image or promoted national policy," Shi said.
"China has its own prizes, so there's no need to sigh (that Chinese pictures did not win)," Shi said. "We can still expect more Chinese films with humanitarian expression and international vision."