Is ‘Parasite’ the Most Important Best Picture Winner Ever? Film Critics, Hollywood React

"Parasite" swept the Oscars, winning prizes for Best Picture and Best Director and forever changing the Academy Awards.

It’s going to take a while for Hollywood to come down from the high that is “Parasite” sweeping the 92nd Academy Awards. Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner entered the 2020 Oscars in history-making fashion as the first South Korean feature film nominated for Academy Awards. Many Oscar pundits expected “Parasite” to win the Best International Feature Film category with ease, but very few saw Bong sweeping the major prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. “Parasite” now marks the first time any foreign-language film has won the Best Picture prize. For this reason, many film critics, directors, and actors are championing “Parasite” as the most important and game-changing Best Picture winner in Oscar history. Along with Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” “Parasite” is also being hailed as the best Best Picture winner in recent memory.

“‘Parasite’ has dealt a much-needed slap to the American film industry’s narcissism, its long-standing love affair with itself, its own product and its own image,” writes LA Times film critic Justin Chang about the “Parasite” Oscars sweep. “It has startled the Academy into recognizing that no country’s cinema has a monopoly on greatness… And in a year of unwelcome resurgence for #OscarsSoWhite, especially in the acting categories, the sight of actors Song Kang Ho, Park So Dam, Choi Woo Shik, Lee Jung Eun and other members of the ‘Parasite’ cast and crew taking the stage was nothing less than a balm — and a sign, perhaps, that the Academy’s efforts to diversify its ranks and become a truly global institution are having an imperfect but measurable effect.”

Owen Gleiberman, film critic for Variety, writes that “Parasite” winning Best Picture is a vote for cinema’s future, adding “It’s a vote for a future of storytellers who come from fresh places, who see our passions and dilemmas with new eyes, who invent new forms…On Oscar night, Hollywood sent out a message to the world — as it always does during the Academy Awards — about the kind of movie it’s chosen to represent the industry. And in honoring a film that wasn’t even made within the industry, it was saying: We can look to lights from outside. In a year when the debate was framed as ‘Marvel vs cinema,’ the Oscars voted for cinema.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay shared her joy on social media for “Parasite” winning Best Picture: “The world is big and it is beautiful and films from everywhere deserve to be on that stage winning The Academy’s highest honor. This is wonderful and right.”

Not only has “Parasite” now become an Oscars juggernaut, but it’s also a box office sensation around the world. The film is heading to $40 million at the U.S. box office, making it one of the top non-English-language releases in domestic history, and it has already crossed the $160 million mark worldwide. “Parasite” is Bong’s first movie to top the $100 million mark internationally. Expect “Parasite” to continue to thrive at the box office this weekend following its major Oscar victories.

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