‘Parasite’, a South Korean film, has won four Oscars –– the most for this year, including Best Picture. This has people wondering whether Hollywood is finally less insular, or if there is still a long way to go.
A man named Jon Miller criticised ‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay, which Bong prefaced in English, and proceeded to make in Korean, his native language. Miller wrote: “These people are the destruction of America,” then tried to manoeuvre in a second tweet by saying he meant Hollywood, not Asians.
But his awkward apology was worse than no apology, as Miller claimed Hollywood was awarding ‘Parasite’ over “more deserving” films to “show how woke they are”, accusing the film of stoking “flames of class warfare”.
“These people” are obviously not Koreans but those in Hollywood awarding a foreign film that stokes flames of class warfare over 2 films I thought were more deserving simply to show how woke they are.That should be clear from the rest of what I tweeted about tonight’s production.— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) February 10, 2020
South Korean film ‘Parasite’ achieved the unimaginable on Oscar’s night on Sunday; it won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay. For a film in Korean, cast with Asian actors, it was no small feat. ‘Parasite’ won the most awards during Oscars 2020, becoming the first foreign language film to win the award for Best Picture in Oscars’ history.
Director and producer Bong, in his acceptance speeches honoured his fellow nominees. In an especially touching speech, he spoke highly of Martin Scorsese, director of ‘The Irishman’ as an influence over his youth.
Earlier, outside of the theatre where the awards ceremony was held, Bong was asked why he wrote and directed ‘Parasite’ in Korean, a rather awkward question since the film happens to be set in South Korea with South Korean characters.
Someone just asked Bong Joon-ho why he decided to make Parasite in Korean. Are they going to ask every American director why they filmed their movies in English.... #Oscars— Jenna Guillaume⁷ (@JennaGuillaume) February 9, 2020
asking a Korean Director why he made a film in Korean?!!!!— Nam-Yoon-Seok-Ho-Ji-Tae-Jung-A-Sa⁷ (@agalfromearth) February 10, 2020
asking a Korean boy group which language are their songs in?!!
American interviewers have no better questions?! English is not a main language spoke in many countries around the world! Get that?!pic.twitter.com/YoKTBUq7rx
Bong’s ‘Parasite’ had earlier swept other major awards at festivals: at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Palme d’Or, with Bong becoming the first Korean director to win the coveted award. At the Golden Globes, Parasite was nominated for three awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay, and Bong walked away with the Best Foreign Language Film award.
For many Hollywood observers, accusing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of awarding Parasite to show they are “woke” revealed a narrow minded approach to film-making, as the film is highly acclaimed and a hit with critics and viewers alike.
The Academy has been criticised of primarily nominating and awarding whites, with diversity and inclusion advocate April Reign coming up with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite five years ago to point out instances of covert racism in the nomination and awarding process.
As a response, the Academy has been inviting more members from diverse backgrounds to join its ranks. The 2020 awards ceremony and the success of ‘Parasite’s success may possibly be a reflection of the change that many wish to see in the Academy, but more skeptical voices have said the Academy is only changing superficially. In the end, as Korean-American Nick Cho of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters tweeted, non-Asians would do well not to attribute feelings and reactions to Asian Americans.
Non-Asians: Asian Americans will have a diversity of feelings and reactions about Parasite’s big #Oscars wins, as diverse as our aggregated identity group is. Asians may claim the victory as theirs to share if they choose to. YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE FOR THEM NOT EVEN A LITTLE. pic.twitter.com/cgP3zoD3uU— Nick Cho • 조근형 (@NickCho) February 10, 2020