‘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”.

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. 

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.

Source: TRT World