The beautiful drama Better Days has been nominated this year for the best international film Oscar. The film was adapted from the popular Chinese YA novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty (少年的你,如此美丽) by author Jiu Yuexi. It tells a story of a bullied high school girl and a teenage street thug, and how both of their lives were changed by each other. The movie was directed by Derek Tsang

This is a huge deal. 

It has given Hong Kong its first shot at Academy Awards glory since Farewell My Concubine in 1993. But the Oscars ceremony will go unaired in Hong Kong for the first time in over 50 years.


Hong Kong's biggest free broadcaster TVB, which has carried the Oscars since 1969, has opted not to renew the rights to the ceremony. A TVB spokesperson said, "It was purely a commercial decision that we decided not to pursue the Oscars this year."

No other Hong Kong broadcaster or pay-TV channel has announced plans to step in and pick up the rights in TVB's place. Therefore, it won't be on the air. 

Some people wonder if mainland China's ownership of TVB is behind this choice. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Beijing's media regulators instructed mainland Chinese press outlets not to broadcast live coverage of the Oscars ceremony and to play down their reporting of the event overall, according to sources familiar with the directive. The tamping down on the Oscars, which have a wide following among Chinese movie buffs, is believed to be a response to the nomination of the short documentary Do Not Split, which explores the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, as well as ongoing official unease over past statements attributed to Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, who is nominated in the best director category for Nomadland."

While there are no definitive answers on what has happened, this is a sad day for a country that won't get to celebrate its contribution to film worldwide. It's also a sad day for democracy, but that's not a topic for this site. If you can, seek out Better Days and support the film. 

Let us know what you think in the comments.