Oscars 2020: Parasites colonize the red carpet
Although Joker won in the number of nominations, the South Korean thriller has snuck in as a favorite in Hollywood's belly button. Will diversity win out or will it be fumigated?
If diversity was the star of the last Oscars –with an award for the Mexican Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" and 15 women among the nominees, including the indigenous Yalitza Aparicio– the film industry still has surprises in store.
A unique social satire has crept into the traditional Scorsese and Tarantino rivalry. We are referring to South Korea's "Parasites", by director Bong Joon Ho, which after winning a Palme d'Or at Cannes and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, has earned no less than six Oscar nominations: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Production Design and Best Editing.
Hardly anything for a thriller that tackles social inequalities through the story of a poor family that infiltrates another family from a much higher social class as domestic servants and "parasitizes" it. But who is the parasite, really?
The originality of the film and the director's ability to convey well rounded characters, without making value judgments or falling into clichés, makes "Parasites" the best portrait of where social inequalities and lack of employment lead us. It is also almost a "synaesthetic" work in the sense that "the smell of poverty" — the smell of people living in the underground — gets up your nose to the point of empathizing and hating each other.
Nevertheless, and even at the risk of becoming doomsayers, it is quite probable that this year - with the same ambition of diversity, but losing steam to the previous one - it will be "Joker", with its eleven nominations, followed by "The Irishman" and "Once upon a time in Hollywood" with ten, being the ones with the most statuettes. It will be, some predict, a tug-of-war between its last directors, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, who already had their first duel at the Golden Globes. Many did not believe that the long farewell wink from the "Reservoir Dogs" director would pass the hand over the face of "The Irishman" and his cast of legendary Mafiosi, but in the end Sam Mendes' "1917" knocked them both out.
Can you imagine Bong Joon Ho picking up the Oscar for Best Director just like Cuaron did last year? Or Parasites taking the award for Best Film? Or Best Foreign Film -almost a given- where he competes with Pedro Almodóvar's "Dolor y Gloria."
Proud of these parasites that put an end to heartburn and Hollywood inbreeding, we look back at other great foreign films that have colonized the red carpet:
Dedicated to the women who raised him, Mexican Alfonso Cuarón won the Oscar for Best Director with "Roma" and Yalitza Aparicio, its protagonist, became the first indigenous woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress by playing a domestic worker in Mexico's violent Roma colony.
In black and white and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, this French comedy-drama won the Oscar for Best Film. A story of Hollywood and its transition from mute cinema to sound cinema that was highly praised by critics, although it once again, brings us back to the usual nostalgia that the industry feels for its past.
Austrian director Michael Haneke's colossal and very sad film about death, love, and old age was nominated for five Oscars and ended up winning the Best Foreign Film Award. It was the great film of the year, with a very favorable review and acclaimed in many festivals.
Indian garbage cans and a TV contest are the stars of this Indian-British film that won no less than eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Danny Boyle.
Nominated for Best Film and Best Foreign Film, as well as "Love" and "Parasites", among others, Ang Lee's film received ten nominations, being one of the most successful non-US films at the Oscars, along with the already legendary "Life is Beautiful" (1998) and "Roma."
Directed by legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, the film won four Oscars at the time, but until 2018 it had the honor of being the most successful foreign film in the history of the ceremony.
Cheer up: will these Oscars be a brief culmination of last year's edition, or its echoes?