What does this win mean for non-English film and drama internationally?
Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean satire wins top prize at the 2020 Academy Awards after taking best director, international film and original screenplay. This is great news for the global film and drama industry!
Joon-ho defeated his hero Martin Scorsese at this year’s Oscar. Scorsese was nominated in the best picture category for ‘The Irishman’. Bong paid tribute to Scorsese in his best director speech, saying that, when he was young, he “carved deep into my heart” a quote by Scorsese: “The most personal is the most creative.”
Only 10 foreign-language films have previously been nominated for best picture – including Amour and Life Is Beautiful – but none of them won.
According to the Guardian maybe the win can be put into context by the fact that Cynthia Erivo (Harriet’) was the only non-white nominated for an acting award – “could help explain Parasite’s unprecedented win.”
If the win is motivated by diversity politics, we may never know. However, it is great news for subtitled drama everywhere. As Bong Joon Ho said in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.
“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
Phil Hoad for the Guardian also says “Fully embracing the widest possible definition of cinema could be a chance for the awards to reclaim the mainstream relevancy the awards have surrendered over the last 20 years.”
Also, Justin Chang at the LA Times is celebrating win saying: ” ‘Parasite’ has dealt a much-needed slap to the American film industry’s narcissism, its long-standing love affair with itself, its own product and its own image. It has startled the academy into recognizing that no country’s cinema has a monopoly on greatness — no small thing at a time when trumped-up nationalism and xenophobia have a way of seeping into our art no less than our politics.”
Let us hope that now audiences everywhere are overcoming the fear of the inch tall barrier and we will see more international films in our cinemas and on our TV sets.