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Jack Ma celebrates 'Green Book' Oscar win in Beijing


Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks to audience members at the Chinese premiere of "Green Book," held in Beijing just hours after the 91st Academy Awards handed it the accolade as best picture, Feb. 25, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Alibaba Pictures]

Chinese tycoon Jack Ma showed up unexpectedly at a cinema in Beijing to celebrate this year's Oscar-winning best film "Green Book," co-invested by Alibaba Pictures under his multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group.

"I have seen the film for the third time today, and I have recommended it to many friends," Ma said at the Chinese premiere of "Green Book." He added: "This film shows me the warmth of society, which offers much hope. There are many problems in many aspects in our society - like what you saw in the film, there is coldness, cruelty, troubles and violence. However, what we see in this movie is that the world is still very warm."

He also noted that filmmaking should not be seen as something just for piling up money, and a good film doesn't necessarily have to be an earthshaking epic, "'Green Book' looks very ordinary and plain, yet it reflects many stories hidden behind. I think this film will get everybody thinking."

The chairman of Alibaba Group believed there will soon be a chance for Chinese films to shine at the annual Oscars ceremony, "and my point is, to make a real good film, first of all, you have to love movies and love what you do, instead of loving fame and fortune."

He said "Green Book" was not a standard educational film, but one "to awaken something inside you," before going on to instruct his Alibaba associates to invest in, import and make more such films in the future.

"Green Book," directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, won in three categories at the 91st Academy Awards - best picture, best actor in a supporting role, and best original screenplay - on Sunday in Los Angeles after already winning dozens of prizes elsewhere in the world.

The film was produced by Participant Media, DreamWorks Pictures and was co-funded by Alibaba Pictures. According to Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures, after close friend Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners introduced the film to them, the Chinese film company decided on an investment in July 2018 when they saw "warm theme, positive values, excellent story quality, and unique artistic expression" in it.

They also recommended the film to Huaxia Film Distribution and persuaded Huaxia to distribute it throughout China. Huaxia got on board very quickly.

Zhang said the standard they use when choosing to get involved is to see if a film tells a story about "nobodies" and contains "big sentiments and positive energy."

She went on: "When I saw 'Green Book' for the first time, I felt that although it was not so grand, it was very warm. People with different experiences and from different backgrounds could help each other and go forward hand in hand."

This year's Academy Award ceremony was also a landmark moment for internet giants investing in film industry.

In 2017, Amazon Studios won its first-ever Academy Awards, taking home three Oscar statuettes for "Manchester by the Sea" and "The Salesman" in what was a historic achievement for the streaming industry.

Meanwhile, Netflix won three Oscar awards by presenting the critically-applauded "Roma" by Alfonso Cuaron while being engaged in a controversial battle with the major film studios for dominance in film industry for some time. However, it didn't get the top prize - the best film award.


Film executives, who formed the partnership to import "Green Book" to China, pose for a photo on stage at the Chinese premiere held in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Alibaba Pictures]

However, by funding "Green Book," Alibaba Pictures became the first internet company in the world to fund a film winning the top Oscar award that Alibaba executives saw as a historic milestone and big triumph on Monday night in Beijing.

In addition to these awards, "Green Book" also set another record in China for being the Oscar-winning best film to be released here at the quickest pace. It will officially open in Chinese cinemas on Friday, March 1, just four days after Oscar award announcement.

Yu Dong, chairman of Bona Film Group, was invited to see the film and praised the efficiency at the premiere on Monday night: "Being able to set the release date in such a fast way is enough to show the great achievements of China's reform and opening up," he said.

As the creators of "Green Book" had to attend the Oscar ceremony, no one was able to show up for its Chinese premiere. However, with Jack Ma and his friends, including Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Lenovo, well-known screenwriter Shu Huan, actress Jing Tian and Yu Zhou, co-founder of Light Chaser Animation Studios, the event still seemed hot.

Before the VIP guests spoke about their feelings about the film, videos of the director Ferrari and actor Ali were played to greet the Chinese audience.

Tycoon Liu Chuanzhi described "Green Book" as demonstrating "the progress and bright side of society in the way I like. It makes our society become more harmonious. I hope that more movies like this could be made, and they will make the world a better place."

Fan Luyuan, the chairman of Alibaba Pictures, later echoed this sentiment, saying: "I am looking forward to doing my best to help young Chinese directors get to the Oscars."


A congratulatory Chinese poster of "Green Book" [Image courtesy of Alibaba Pictures]  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Jack Ma celebrates 'Green Book' Oscar win in Beijing)