Monday, December 11, 2023

Parasite’ Makes History at the Oscars

At a glamorous event that had Hollywood well-heeled personalities in attendance, South Korean film ‘Parasite’ makes a historic win, writes Vanessa Obioha

Finally, a foreign film broke the #OscarsSoWhite mold. The South Korean movie ‘Parasite’ swooped the Best Picture category, making history in a category that was dominated by Hollywood movies such as ‘1917’ which was an awards favourite this season; Martin Scorsese’s thriller ‘ The Irishman’, and Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, among others. It is also the first foreign film to win in the coveted category.

Producer Kwak Sin Ae acknowledged the historic moment while accepting the award for Best Picture “I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now.”

The Bong Joon-Ho film which centres on class differences in the East Asian country also took the trophy for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film, a category that Nigeria’s ‘Lionheart’ was disqualified. Out of the six nominations, it only failed to clinch two awards: Best Production Design and Best Film Editing. ‘Parasite’ also took home the most awards of the night.


“We never write to represent our countries, but this is very first Oscar to South Korea,” Joon-Ho said, speaking with the help of a translator as he and Han Jin Wo accepted the award for Best Original Screenplay. Han thanked his mother and father and dedicated the win to the filmmaking industry in South Korea.

Since 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been badgered with protests of diversity. The body vowed to make its membership as diverse as possible and started inviting film practitioners outside Hollywood to be voting members. In 2018, it invited four Nigerians among who was prominent filmmaker Femi Odugbemi. Last year, the Academy sent out 842 invitations to 59 countries, including Nigeria where renowned cinematographer Tunde Kelani made the list. By winning the Best Picture, the South Korean film ignites hope that one day a Nollywood film will also be celebrated in the coveted category of the prestigious award

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