Asia nearly shut out at Oscars

Only New Zealand wins at ceremony

BEIJING – "Oscar Morning," as it is in Asia, left film fans having breakfast with the Academy Awards feeling less than full, with no awards for Asian films or filmmakers in a year when the nominations had already left most of the region's industry out in the cold.

Only Weta Digital of New Zealand’s win for best visual effects, and New Zealander Kim Sinclair’s sharing of the art direction trophy for the same film prevented Asia from being shut out entirely.

Even before the awards ceremony began, 2009 was set to be Asia’s worst showing at the Oscars in years. No Asian films or filmmakers were nominated for any major awards, including Best Foreign Language Film. For the first time in a decade, no Australian actor or actress was competing in a performance category. Only a few documentary and technical nominations saved face.

While dolphin slaughter documentary “The Cove” won for best documentary feature, is set in Japan, the film was an American production, and hardly counts as a win for the island nation.

In China, where multiple award-winner “Avatar” is still playing in 3D and which reigns as its all-time boxoffice champ, the Oscar broadcast wasn’t presented live and won’t be shown until Monday night local time. The only live television event Monday was coverage of the “Two Meetings,” annual sessions of China’s two most important legislative bodies, currently convening in Beijing. It was available streamed online at

The Academy Awards broadcast was carried live in India on News Corp.-owned Star Movies; in Japan on Wowow, the country’s biggest pay satellite and cable station; and in Thailand on TrueVisions channel 61, along other regional broadcasters, some of whom will show the ceremony Monday night in full or as highlights.

-- Gavin J. Blair in Tokyo, Pip Bulbeck in Sydney and Jonathan Landreth in Beijing contributed to this report.