Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:
Today, Doug Jamieson of The Jam Report is here to look at the nominee for Best Picture – Parasite.
Picture Nominee – Parasite
“If not now, when?”
This is the simple, yet effective Oscar campaign angle NEON have deployed to push Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite to create history and become the first foreign language film to take home the Academy’s highest honour. After 92 years, the fact Best Picture has never been awarded to a film not in the English language is rather embarrassing for an awards body who considers itself the preeminent voice in film excellence.
After Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma came achingly close to snatching the Best Picture trophy in 2018, we are now presented with a foreign language film that seemingly stands a much greater chance at success. While Roma clearly had its fans (myself included), it ultimately wasn’t the most “accessible” film, making it difficult to win in a preferential style of voting. And it didn’t help Hollywood was utterly terrified at the idea Best Picture being awarded to a Netflix film that largely bypassed a theatrical run. Parasite has neither of these problems.
With a staggering worldwide box office of $164 million, Parasite has proven to be the unexpected hit of the year, especially given it only cost $11 million to produce. The love for this film is genuinely palpable. Just look at the reaction the ensemble cast received when they stunningly won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Or the reaction Bong has received anywhere he has popped up this season. The industry adores this film and its filmmaker. That kind of love could very easily translate into a Best Picture victory, especially if they have the actors branch on their side.
There genuinely seems to be a “rooting factor” for Parasite that most of the other Best Picture nominees simply do not have. We know audiences loved it. And with a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics clearly did too. The desire to see this film honoured in such a way could prove to be the groundswell of support Parasite needs to sweep to victory, especially with preferential style voting.
It’s hard to imagine many will leave this film languishing on the bottom of their ballot. Even if it’s not their #1 vote, it’s easy to prophesise many voters will have it in their #2 or #3 spot, which could prove crucial if no film manages to win during the first round of voting. With nine nominees this year, it seems unfathomable any film will win outright and preferences will then come into play. That could prove to be the key to a Parasite win. It’s very likely taking home Best Original Screenplay and we often see one of the screenplay categories match with the eventual Best Picture winner.
But it’s far from the safe choice for your prediction pools. Outside of its Palme d’Or win at Cannes, Parasite hasn’t won a major “Best Film” type prize this awards season, namely due to the fact it keeps winning the foreign language film categories instead. And there’s every chance that could happen at the Oscars too. It’s a challenging hurdle any foreign language film must clear. Many simply may not want to award Parasite twice.
And then there’s the frustrating elephant in the room we unfortunately must consider; some people do not enjoy watching films with subtitles. It’s one of the many reasons a foreign language film has never won Best Picture. Yes, it’s unbelievably idiotic, but there could be a large chunk of voters who didn’t even bother watching Parasite due to their aversion at having to read dialogue. One would hope this is not the case, but it’s a sad reality we must face.
If any film can overcome the challenges facing foreign language films that find themselves in the Best Picture race, it truly does seem to be something as beloved as Parasite. Many people want to see this film win and that adoration could carry it over the line. The chance to make history and finally put an end to one of the Academy’s most shameful records may just prove too tempting to resist. For if not now, when?
Oscar nominations – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design
Key wins this season – Screen Actors Guild Awards (Best Ensemble), Golden Globes (Best Foreign Language Film), BAFTA (Best Film Not in the English Language, Best Original Screenplay), Cannes Film Festival (Palme d’Or), Writers Guild of America Awards (Best Original Screenplay), Critics’ Choice Movie Awards (Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film), National Board of Review (Best Foreign Language Film), Art Directors Guild Awards (Excellence in Production Design for a Contemporary Feature Film)