South Korean film “Parasite” made history at the 92nd Academy Awards for being the first foreign-language film to win the Best Picture Award, adding honors for director Bong Joon Ho who also won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature.
It was indeed a surprising outcome. Audiences and critics felt the World War I epic “1917” was on the lead, but hardly a complete shock in light of the praise showered on the South Korean film by the industry and critics as the awards were announced at the Oscars.
The overwhelmed director, Bong Joon Ho, graciously singled out his fellow nominees, and thank each of them by going so far as to mention using a Texas chainsaw to carve up the statuette and share it with them.
The four acting wins are not much more of a surprise, given the array of honors handed out to them even before Oscar night.
Three of them were first-time winners, with Joaquin Phoenix winning for his title role in “Joker,” an origin story from the Batman franchise.
Renee Zellweger, who won supporting actress in 2004 for “Cold Mountain” earned her first lead actress award for “Judy”, a biography for Judy Garland near the end of her troubled life.
Brad Pitt and Laura Dern got their Oscars in the supporting races for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Marriage Story.”
Another nominee for the Best Picture Award, writer-director Taika Waititi’s anti-Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” nabbed the adapted screenplay prize.
Eight of the nine nominees for best picture have earned at least one award. “1917” nabbed awards in sound, cinematography, and visual effects.
“Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood” got a second for production design.“Ford v. Ferrari” won one of the sound prizes and for editing. “Little Women” got the costume design, and Hilda Gudnadottir was awarded for the original score for “Joker”.
However, the Netflix gangster drama “The Irishman,” from Director Martin Scorcese became the lone exception.
Netflix’s “American Factory,” a documentary supported with the Obamas, was also awarded in that category. The film tackles the takeover of an Ohio production plant by Chinese interests.
“Toy Story 4” won Best Animated Movie, like its predecessor in 2011 which is considered as the first franchise to win a pair of awards within that category.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin, together with their team of composers also shared an Oscar for their original song for “Rocketman,” a musical drama based on Elton John’s life.
The suspense over the Best Picture award remained at the center of this year’s event, based on the acting honors received by different films, many assumed the race had already been decided during the buildup to the movie industry’s biggest night.
The nominations also reincarnated the issue about inclusion and diversity within the academy, which gave birth to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag five years ago. Despite the actions of the academy to address the issue, only one person of color, actress Cynthia Erivo, for the Harriet Tubman biography “Harriet” was included on the 20 nominees for best and supporting actor and actress.
The film “Parasite” failed to get any individual acting recognition, although it was an ensemble piece, and was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild on that basis.
Still, “Parasite” had shown resilience not just at the box office.
The movie won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the Golden Globe for best foreign film last month, the Writers Guild Award for its original screenplay, and a best-ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards — the first time in its history that the organization had given its top award to a foreign-language film.
At the ceremony last month, the “Parasite” actors got a standing ovation when they came out to present a clip from the film, a sign that craving for the twisty thriller ran deep.
It is indeed undebatable that Director Bong Joon-Ho, whose films include “Okja” and “Snowpiercer,” is one of the season’s most popular presences.
Bong said then:
“We never expected all this.”
But now that his film has made Oscar history, it’s pretty clear that 92 years of traditional expectations should now be left out of the window. In a post-“Parasite” world, the next winner for the Best Picture award can come from anywhere.