After an awards season marked by its predictability, the Oscars delivered a spectacular final-reel twist on Sunday evening, naming Bong Joon-Ho’s capitalist satire Parasite best picture.
Bong Joon-ho’s comedy-drama about an impoverished family who infiltrates the household of a wealthier one is the first film not in the English language to take the top prize. It also took best director, best original screenplay and best international film.
Sam Mendes’s 1917 had been tipped to rule triumphant at this year’s Academy Awards, following its key victories at the Baftas, Golden Globes and crucial bellwethers such as the Producers Guild Awards. In the event, the harrowing first world war drama took three awards: for Roger Deakins’ cinematography and for its visual effects and sound mixing.
Bong’s film also defeated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Jojo Rabbit and The Irishman to best picture. It marks the first time in 65 years – since Marty in 1955 – that the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes has progressed to the best picture Oscar.
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.”
He also thanked Tarantino for championing his work: “Quentin, I love you.”
Only 10 foreign-language films have previously been nominated for best picture – including Amour and Life Is Beautiful – but none of them won. Last year, many thought Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographical drama Roma might take the best picture as well as director, but it was pipped to the post by Green Book.
That result was not well received, with many people feeling the Academy’s strenuous attempts to diversify were undermined by the celebration of a film whose approach to race relations seems more suited to its 60s setting than to 2019.
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