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CULTURE | 10-02-2020 13:54

‘Parasite’ makes history with Oscar win, opening doors for international pictures

South Korean thriller ‘Parasite’ made Oscar history on Sunday by becoming the first non-English-language film to win the best picture award, along with 3 others prizes. However, Argentine nominees who worked on ‘The Irishman’ went home empty handed.

South Korean black comedy Parasite made movie history at the Oscars on Sunday, becoming the first non-English-language film to win the best picture award – Hollywood's biggest prize of all.

A genre-defying thriller about a poor family infiltrating a wealthy household, the film won four awards, stunning the pundits who believed the Academy would never crown a subtitled Asian movie.

"It's such a great honour. I feel like I'll wake up to find it's all a dream. It all feels very surreal," a jubilant Bong Joon-ho, who also won best director honours, told journalists backstage, calling the night "crazy."

Parasite also won the Oscar for Best International Feature, and became the first Asian film to scoop Best Original Screenplay.

"I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax," Bong had proclaimed earlier after his best director win, promising to "drink until next morning."

Bong also paid tribute on stage to his childhood hero and fellow nominee Martin Scorsese, drawing a standing ovation for the veteran director of ‘The Irishman’ – which went home empty-handed despite the 10 nominations.

Scorsese’s visual effect team was composed with some Argentine talents. 

Buenos Aires-born Pablo Gelman, 60, who previously worked on films in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, has been nominated for his work along with his fellow countrymen Leandro Estebecorena and Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser.

However, a bigger shock was in store as the South Korean feature beat frontrunner 1917’ to win best picture, the night's final prize.

"It feels like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now," producer Kwak Sin-ae told an audience of Tinseltown A-listers, who cheered the film's wins throughout the night at the Dolby Theatre.

Bong predicted that "naturally we will come to a day" when "a foreign language film winning this won't be much of an issue."

Argentine family

In a moment with local ties, Oscar winner Andrew Frederick Buckland took to the stage, after winning the Best Film Editing category for his work in Ford vs. Ferrari. He thanked first his collaborators and then closed his emotional speech by dedicating the award "to my family in Argentina.,” ensuring the country was at least mentioned at the Academy Awards.

"We wouldn't be here without our people and our excellent sound equipment," he declared.

Then he dedicated his award "to my beautiful wife María, our son Lucas..."

Buckland then surprised the audience with a brief phrase, adding: "I love you very much" in his wife's native castellano, declaring his gratitude to his "sister Claire, Joe, Armando, my father and my mother, who supported me from the beginning.”

Just seconds after the greeting, the moment became a trending topic on Twitter in Argentina.

Highlights

In other highlights, the World War I drama from Sam Mendes, 1917,  won three awards, for best visual effects, cinematography and sound mixing. 

The heavily favoured Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for Joker, while Renée Zellweger won Best Actress for her turn as Judy Garland in Judy.

In other hotly tipped choices, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern won best supporting role prizes for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and Marriage Story respectively.

In a political turn Pitt, the 56-year-old film legend, targeted US President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in his acceptance speech.

“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here – which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” he quipped.

In other notable moments, rap superstar Eminem took to the stage to perform 'Lose Yourself' from his hit 2003 film 8 Mile, while pop star of the moment Billie Eilish sang Yesterday by The Beatles to honour those lost in the In Memorium section. Names such as Agnès Verda, Kirk Douglas and NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant – who earned an Oscar for the short animated movie Dear Basketball – were among those honoured.

Equality and discrimination were regular topics addressed by the performers and professionals present with US musician and pop megastar Janelle Monáe emphasising the lack of black and female nominees in her opening musical medley. 

– TIMES/AFP

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