China / Top Stories

Oscars' mix-up entangles providers of online news

By Xu Fan (China Daily) Updated: 2017-02-28 07:56

The 89th Academy Awards drew millions of Chinese viewers, but also sparked an online upheaval over the unprecedented announcement of the wrong winner of the best picture award.

As the Oscars ceremony reached its climax on Monday local time, the winner of the most coveted award was mistakenly announced as the musical La La Land. The real winner was the coming-of-age drama Moonlight. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had gotten the wrong envelope.

The error was corrected a few minutes later, after La La Land's cast and filmmakers began an acceptance speech. But some of China's WeChat public accounts had already released a short news burst naming the wrong winner.

The mix-up was compounded because WeChat doesn't allow such news bursts to be deleted or revised, even if the article they link to is deleted. The fastest to release the news complained that they had become unwitting victims.

Latest available figures show China has more than 12 million WeChat public accounts, attracting 52.3 percent of the country's 710 million netizens, according to iiMedia Research.

The ceremony was broadcast live by several Chinese sites, such as and, attracting millions of online watchers.

On the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, the Oscars topped the charts of most-discussed topics, with some 3.6 billion posts. The gaffe gave netizens plenty of inspiration to come up with spoofs.

Industry watchers, meanwhile, turned their attention to the Oscar-winning films' connection to China.

La La Land, with six awards, is the only winner now being screened in Chinese theaters. Since its release on Feb 14, it has grossed 211 million yuan ($30.7 million), a record for musicals in China.

Another five award-winners - Hacksaw Ridge, Zootopia, Arrival, The Jungle Book, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - were screened in China.

Zootopia, the best animated picture, raked in 1.53 billion yuan, making it China's largest-grossing animated film.

Jiang Yong, a Beijing-based industry watcher, said the awards would raise Chinese film fans' interest in seeing the winning films, most of which have not yet seen general release in China. "But Moonlight is about a gay relationship. Such stories are rarely introduced in China," he added.

Another highlight for Chinese movie fans was the Oscars attendance of Jackie Chan, who has starred in, directed or produced some 250 movies in a career of more than 50 years. Chan, who attended as the winner last year of an Oscar for lifetime achievement, said he is proud to be a Chinese.

In an earlier interview with China Daily, the 63-year-old star said he would insist on performing the death-defying stunts personally in his future action movies.

 Oscars' mix-up entangles providers of online news

Jackie Chan, winner of a lifetime achievement Oscar last year, arrives at the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday, US time, in Hollywood, California.Valerie Macon / AFP

Hot Topics