Well, here’s a new twist to this year’s foreign film Oscar race: China has selected Zhang Yimou‘s “The Flowers of War” as their official entry.
What’s the big deal? Well, unlike the other contenders, Yimou’s film will have the advantage of a Hollywood star, Christian Bale, in helping promote and get the word out for the movie. Not only that, it has Oscar Bait written all over it. With a budget of about $90 million, the film is one of the most expensive Chinese productions ever, entirely financed within the country, and shot 40% in English and 60% in Mandarin Chinese. The film focuses on the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, when thousands of inhabitants of the then-capital Nanjing were murdered by invading Japanese troops. Bale plays an American priest named John who shelters prostitutes and students during the attack. Moreover, Yimou is thrice nominated for Best Foreign Film, receiving back-to-back nods in 1991 and 1992 for “Ju Dou” and “Raise the Red Lantern” and another in 2003 for “Hero.” He will definitely be a big contender this time around.
So when will we get to see it? Who knows. The film is currently without any U.S. distribution, but with news that it’s entering the Oscar race and with Bruce Wayne himself in a feature role, that situation will likely change very quickly, and we could see a limited release and campaign being pulled together very quickly for the end of the year. So Oscar prognosticators, get out the erasers, because the race is far from over. [THR]