arts

COLUMN: If 'Parasite' gets snubbed I'm never watching the Oscars again



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Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik), Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-Ho), Kim Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-Jin) and Kim Ki-jung (Park So-Dam) perform in the 2019 movie "Parasite." Movie Stills Database

Everybody hates the Oscars, and for good reason. Personally, my distaste for Hollywood’s biggest night was born when I watched the Best Picture award for “Moonlight” get mistakenly awarded to “La La Land” in 2017.

I wish Twitter had been around back in 1986 when “The Color Purple” was snubbed out of its Best Picture award in favor of “Out of Africa” so the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite could have been trending for over thirty years leading up to this moment. Maybe the “Moonlight” fiasco wouldn’t have happened.

After accusations of racism because “Moonlight” initially had its award stolen, the Oscars went into serious crisis management mode. I think the Academy can finally somewhat rectify such a fumble by awarding “Parasite” its rightful Best Picture award at the 2020 Academy Awards.

If “Parasite” gets snubbed, I’m boycotting the Oscars for the rest of my life.

Since the Academy is known for overlooking horror and thriller films and a foreign language film has never won Best Picture, a win for “Parasite” seems unlikely. Besides genre and language, the themes of chaos and ruin falling on the wealthy makes the film even less palatable to the Academy.

However, with a Palme d’Or from the 2019 Cannes Film Festival under its belt (the top honor at Cannes), the highest rating of any narrative film on Letterboxd and a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, among countless other accolades, “Parasite” has clearly changed cinema forever.

Sure, “Parasite” is a shoe-in for Best International Feature Film (though I think that honor should go to Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory” with “Parasite” winning Best Picture), but if a film of such caliber as “Parasite” loses Best Picture to a film like “Joker” or “Ford v. Ferrari,” I’m going to lose it.

It’s already a travesty that none of the actors in the film were nominated for their performances. In the entire history of the Academy Awards, only two Asian actors have won awards for acting, one for Best Supporting Actor and one for Best Supporting Actress (not including Natalie Portman, who is Israeli which technically means she’s from Asia).

And only one Asian has ever won Best Director, Ang Lee, winning awards for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi.” Could you imagine Bong Joon-ho losing Best Director to the white man who made the “Hangover” trilogy, or the white man who made yet another war movie or the white man who used his cameo in his own movie to say the n-word?

I could sing the praises of “Parasite” forever: the originality, the thrill, the representation, the use of peaches that rivals “Call Me By Your Name” in shocking hilarity. However, the good things about “Parasite” might be historically overshadowed by how these qualities were unequivocally ignored.

That doesn’t have to happen next Sunday.

The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars if they weren’t disappointing every year, but I’m begging the Academy to let us off the hook for once and actually give a good movie the Best Picture award, even if they mistakenly give the award to a white film at first.

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