Parasite wins big at 2020 Oscars

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Parasite cast and producers holding their awards at the 2020 Oscars

Skyler Kasselmann, Arts Editor

Parasite made history at the Oscars when winning awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Original Screenplay. Parasite is the first South Korean movie to be nominated for an Oscar, as well as the first movie not in the English language to win this award. 

The film was released on October 5, 2019 and has received numerous accolades at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globe Awards, and most recently, the Academy Awards. Critics have called it “breath-taking,” “a masterpiece of serial surprises,” and “unquestionably one of the best films of the year.”  

Parasite movie poster

Throughout the 92 years of the Academy Awards, only 11 non-English films have been nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Parasite is the only movie to ever take home an Oscar in this category. “I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now,” said producer Kwak Sin Ae on stage at the Oscars. 

In his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards, Director Bong Joon Ho stated that “once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” The wins for Parasite are a breakthrough in the film industry, especially for other non-English films. 

So what makes this featured film so popular among viewers? The movie explores greed and class discrimination with an interesting storyline. An impoverished family lies and cheats their way into working for a wealthy family by posing as unrelated individuals and recommending each other for various household roles. 

“Because the story is about the poor family infiltrating and creeping into the rich house, it seems very obvious that Parasite refers to the poor family, and I think that’s why the marketing team was a little hesitant,” said Joon Ho.

“But if you look at it the other way, you can see that the rich family, they’re also parasites in terms of labor. They can’t even wash dishes, they can’t drive themselves, so they leech off the poor family’s labor. So both are parasites.”

Outside of Hollywood, Parasite has made a large impact on the Korean American community. In an interview for NBC News, Asian-American Affairs Reporter for the Huffington Post Kimmy Yam said that many families bonded over the film. They were able to go see the Korean spoken movie in theaters alongside other Americans who were just as interested in the film as they were.  

The film’s wins were very empowering, specifically for those involved in media and movie production. Parasite’s success at the Oscars made a significant impact on the world. Maybe this means that movies with subtitles will become more common in theaters in the future.