“Parasite”: Four Oscars and One Big Step Forward for Asian Cinema

Illustration by Grace Park

Vanessa Su
Arts & Entertainment Editor

First introduced to movies through a student film club in Yonsei University, Bong Joon-Ho never expected to share a stage with role model and director Martin Scorsese, nonetheless, win four well-deserved Oscars for his movie “Parasite” in one historical, monumental night both for him and Asian cinema at the 92nd Academy Awards. 

A Korean film that possesses an ability to speak to audiences despite a language barrier, “Parasite” forces its viewers to see the harsh reality that lies in the social inequality and involves a constantly present motif of stairs to indicate the lower class going down and the upper class moving up in society. 

During his acceptance speech for the Best Director Award, Bong mentioned that a quote dear to his heart was that “The most personal is the most creative,” emphasizing how personal his film was and he searched for creativity through emotional connection and a sense of desire to display the sociopolitical message behind “Parasite.” 

After it was announced that “Parasite” had won not only the Best Picture and Best Director, but also Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film, the Internet immediately burst into tweets of endearing memes of Bong Joon-Ho, proud messages of congratulations from Korean citizens, and fun videos of the “Parasite” cast celebrating their four Oscar awards together like a loving family. 

Despite this outpouring of love on Twitter, the movie also faced backlash as Americans criticized the movie for winning despite being in a foreign language and complained about having to read subtitles while watching a movie. Asian American and Asian communities online, however, were quick to defend the movie, asking those writing negative responses to focus instead on the universal message within the movie that points to parasitic relationship between the rich and the poor.  

For the most part, the world has developed an adoration for the movie and its cast, which features renowned Korean actors Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, and Jang Hye-jin, that displays a closeness that only further highlights the intense preparation and detail put into the movie and in making sure the cast could work together smoothly to act out the movie’s message and plot. 

The movie exceeded expectations and for a good reason. Not only did it open up more a clear path for Asian cinema to be nominated in American film award ceremonies but it encouraged various foreign directors to also participate in such ceremonies and continue to work on building an universal audience for their films.  

Though “Parasite” winning four Oscars seems to received a few negative responses, for the most part, Asian Americans and Asian immigrants have sent expressed immense amounts of support and excitement for the cast of “Parasite,” Bong Joon-Ho, as well as Internet-famous translator Sharon Kim. This is a big step forward for the growth of Asian cinema in America and hopefully in the future, it’ll be remembered as one of the many Asian cinema from the 21st century. 



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