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Jiang Wen’s “Hidden Man” is China’s Nominee for the Next Academy Awards

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Last week we confidently told you that Zhang Yimou’s Three Kingdoms-set monochrome epic Shadow was going to be China’s pick for the foreign language category at the Oscars. Nope, totally wrong! (Thanks Mtime, ugh.)

Turns out that honor is going to Jiang Wen’s Hidden Man, a film Variety called “rollicking but empty”. Oh. Hidden Man was the third and quite possibly final part of Jiang’s “Bullets” series of movies that began with 2010’s Let the Bullets Fly and continued with 2014’s Gone With the Bullets. The series’ hallmarks are rapid-fire dialogue, big action set pieces, and Jiang writing himself a key role. Hidden Man had all that plus Eddie Peng pretty much in the buff:

Photo of the Day: Hidden Man

It also originally featured a scene with Kevin Spacey, though that fell to the cutting room floor after he utterly disgraced himself.

Will Hidden Man get Jiang — director of Devils on the Doorstep and In the Heat of the Sun among other films — an Academy statuette? Almost certainly not, but it should at least stand more of a chance than Operation Red Sea, which bizarrely was chosen to represent Hong Kong. Then again, we predicted that Shadow was going to get the nod here, so what do we know?

To be fair, there was actually a good field to choose from this year (Operation Red Sea aside), with Jiang and Zhang’s movies joined by Jia Zhangke’s Ash is the Purest White and Ning Hao and Xu Zheng’s drug smuggling drama Dying to Survive in vying for the pick as China’s submission for the 2019 Academy Awards. Anyway, here are a couple of back-to-back trailers for Hidden Man to give you a taste if you’ve not seen it:

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