The winners of an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short have paid tribute to Hong Kong protesters after beating a film about the 2019 demonstrations to the Oscar.

Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchin. Photo: Oscars screenshot.

Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchin won the top prize for their movie Colette, about an ex-resistance fighter travelling to visit a concentration camp where her brother died.

“The innocent children of Yemen and the protesters in Hong Kong are not forgotten,” Giacchin told the audience during his acceptance speech at the 93rd awards ceremony in California. “I mean, that’s why we do this. That’s why we make these films… we’re grateful that these stories and these individuals have been honoured tonight.”

Do Not Split – a 35-minute feature by Norwegian filmmaker Anders Hammer – was up against four other films. The movie follows anti-extradition law demonstrators, as well as the government’s backlash up until the onset of the national security law last June. The title is a reference to the protesters’ principle of remaining united.

The decision by Chinese and Hong Kong broadcasters not to air the Oscars this year drew further attention to the film, which was shared in full on Vimeo. The movie amassed over 152,000 views online, and has already been screened at Denmark’s International Documentary Film Festival and the New Orleans Film Festival in the US.

“This alleged censoring of the Oscars due to our documentary being nominated is unfortunately not a big surprise after witnessing how freedom of speech and freedom of press is being drastically curtailed in Hong Kong,” Hammer told HKFP in March.

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