China’s Golden Rooster Awards introduces Best Foreign Language Film category
Published: Jul 08, 2021 08:13 PM
The 33rd Golden Rooster Awards Photo: VCG

The 33rd Golden Rooster Awards Photo: VCG

Registration for the 34th Golden Rooster Awards kicked off on Wednesday. Different from previous events, the film gala that usually has a particular focus on Chinese mainland films has opened its doors by adding a new category, Best Foreign Language Film, to celebrate film productions worldwide. 

Works competing in the category must have been reviewed and approved by the China Film Administration from July 1, 2020 to the end of June 2021 and have obtained a screening license. The rules for the new category were introduced on the film award's official Sina Weibo account. 

Some netizens theorized that the addition of the new category is meant to check international film awards such as the Oscars, while others saw it as a positive move to boost the Golden Rooster's international influence. 

"I feel that the prize arrangements of the Golden Rooster are more and more looking like the Oscars," said a netizen on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

"It aims to expand the influence of the Gooden Rooster Awards by embracing film productions' international nature… A large number of foreign films participate in the Beijing and Shanghai international film festivals every year… therefore, the new setting is not a move to check any international film awards," Shi Wenxue, a film critic and industry insider, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

As to the criteria used to choose a winner in the category, Shi expressed the hope that the Golden Rooster will go in its own direction. 

"To think what kind of foreign pictures may win, I'd like to think the category should not be like the political correctness of the Oscars nor the aesthetic orientation of the three major European festivals… we have our own topics that we like, such as ideas about a community with a shared future for mankind," said Shi. 

This is not the first time that the Golden Rooster Awards have attempted to include foreign language films. This same category was set for 2020's gala, but was not implemented due to the pandemic. 

The awards' acceptance of international films actually has an even longer history than that. 

"Embracing international films has a long history that goes back to the early 1990s. The awards at that time already had a category for best translated foreign films. The Hollywood thriller The Fugitive won the laurel in 1995… The new addition is a result of Chinese moviegoers' global tastes as well as the increased sharing of film resources on digital platforms," Meng Xiao, a Chinese film industry insider, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

"I grew up watching a lot of international TV and film works, such as Japanese anime and Hollywood superhero films. I have to say, there was a time that I do think foreign productions were better produced than ours, but the situation has changed. The rapid development of Chinese films over these two years has stunned me… Now we have our own films showing on the international stage while we welcome foreign films on our platform," Wang Linxuan, a fan of both Chinese and foreign films, told the Global Times on Thursday.