And the winner is… PARASITE.
Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Original Screenplay.
The Academy Awards, more popularly known as the Oscars, is one of the most prestigious events in the film industry as the awards signify international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements. However, recognition for foreign films had been largely limited, especially for Asian films. That is, until the South Korean Film “Parasite” wrote history at the 92nd Oscars.
“Parasite” is a South Korean black comedy film that highlights how greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan. The core issue of the film is not unique to South Korean Society, but one that is prevalent around the world. Even without vilifying the rich nor glorifying the poor, the movie was still able to clearly address the outrageousness of the income inequality system that relates to quite frankly every person whether they be on the higher or lower end of the income spectrum. The witty and biting social criticism by director Bong Joon Ho is one of the main reasons why the film has garnered such international acclaim.
The film “Parasite” was nominated for six Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best foreign language film, Best original screenplay, Best production design, Best film editing. Four out of the six awards it was nominated for were brought back home. Parasite won more awards than any other film that night–foreign and U.S. films included. Bong Joon Ho became the 2nd Asian to win Best Director after Ang Lee in 2013. But real history was written when “Parasite” claimed victory over the Best Picture Award, which had never been won by a foreign film in the 92-year history of the Oscars.
The unprecedented achievement of a foreign film sweeping at a largely ‘American’ award ceremony inevitably led to controversy. Notoriously, Trump was seen mocking the Oscars for awarding “Parasite,” South Korean Film, the Best Picture Award, while expressing nostalgia for films like “Gone with the Wind” and “Sunset Boulevard.” His ignorant and narcissistic comments enraged fans worldwide.
Nonetheless, the achievements of “Parasite” has led Bong Joon Ho to become a trailblazer, opening up new paths for future generations of directors, especially in South Korea, to follow his footsteps. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the historic 2020 Oscar awards can be summarized by Bong Joon Ho’s famous quote: “Once you overcome the 1inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”