'Parasite' Won The Oscars. This Is Big

Olivia Ovenden
Photo credit: Mark Ralston - Getty Images

From Esquire

In-between winning the award for 'Best Original Screenplay' and 'Best Director', Parasite director Bong Joon Ho collected the Academy Award for 'Best International Film'. Joon Ho took to the stage amid a standing ovation, the audience sure that this was a nod which took him out of the running for the coveted 'Best Picture' spot.

"This category has a new name, from best foreign language to best international feature film," Joon Ho said via his translator, adding that he was, "so happy to be first recipient under a new name."

Photo credit: MARK RALSTON - Getty Images

A few hours later it turned out that this changing attitude toward foreign cinema would be felt elsewhere, with Parasite defying all odds to win the 'Best Picture' award. Joon Ho had already changed history with the first South Korean film to win an Oscar, little did he know it would end up being the first 'Best Picture' winner in a foreign language.

All award season Parasite has changed the conversation around foreign cinema in a way that Roma never quite did. It is a film which has managed to both woo critics and resonate with audiences, currently sitting on a global box office total of $134.56m. It is urgent and thoughtful in the issues of inequality and class that it dissects, yet still a hugely entertaining watch.

Oscar seasons often have a villain – last year's was Green Book, the year before Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – but what is impressive about Parasite is that it has made all its rivals in the Best Picture race (other than perhaps Little Women), seem like relative villains. Nearly all of Parasite's competition has had a share of controversy – the misogynistic lens of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the incel-baiting of Joker, the Nazi-sympathising of Jojo Rabbit. By contrast Parasite has made heroes of Bong and the film's cast.

Both have been held up by the BONG HIVE on Twitter, for whom their ensemble win at the SAG awards was a moment of pure joy. Bong's witty remarks have been a breath of fresh air in an award season that often feels painfully staged and dull; tonight he told the audience "I'm bloody ready to drink tonight" upon winning his second award, unaware there were two more to follow.

His whole award season run has been filled with jabs at how jingoistic awards can be, telling the Golden Globe audience, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films", joking at the Baftas, "I didn't expect this award at all because the script was written in a foreign language", and saying of the Oscars ,“[They] are not an international film festival. They’re very local.”

Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

When the cast of Parasite took to the stage for their historic 'Best Picture' win, you could feel the air of shock through the screen. The reaction upon their win being announced a roar that sounded like "finally!"

During their speeches the lights were cut out to end the ceremony but the audience chanted "up! up!" to let them continue talking, and the lights came back on. As the film's producer Kwak Sin-ae said while overcome with emotion, "I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now".

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