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“Parasite” Becomes First Non-English Language Movie to Win “Best Picture” at the Oscars
The 92nd Academy Awards, an annual ceremony honoring the best films of the previous year, ended with a historic moment when the South Korean film Parasite won the award for “Best Picture”, becoming the first non-English language movie to capture that trophy.
Parasite, which focuses on the relationship between a family from a lower economic class and a higher economic class, was nominated in six categories. It won in four of them, including the biggest category of the night.
The actors and actresses from the film erupted into cheers after American actress Jane Fonda announced their win. Viewers watching around the world reacted with overwhelming praise.
Director Bong Joon-ho, who had won the award for “Best Director” earlier in the night, looked overwhelmed with joy at pulling off what many Academy Awards followers thought would be a long shot.
No film featuring dialogue in a language other than English in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards has ever won “Best Picture.” While several
films in non-English languages have been nominated, none have ever come close to capturing the award.
Parasite connected with viewers thanks to a mix of excellent filmmaking and a story touching on a topic that people all over the world could relate with. The film depicts scenes of lower class individuals interacting with — and outsmarting — those in the upper classes. It also features moments of intense action.
Bong Joon-ho filmed the movie in Seoul, using the city’s geography as a way to underline the film’s message of how economic class divides people.
The win also cemented South Korea’s place on the global cinema stage. Although the country has been creating high-quality movies since the start of the 21st century, the Academy Awards has largely ignored the nation’s cinematic output. Parasite became the first South Korean film to even be nominated for the Academy Award’s “Best Foreign Film” award, and win it.
Other big winners of the night included actor Joaquin Phoenix, actress Renée Zellweger, actor Brad Pitt and actress Laura Dern.
Japanese makeup artist Kazu Hiro was one of three people to win the Academy Award for “Best Makeup and Hairstyling” for the film Bombshell. It was his second win in that category.
Parasite’s win propelled theaters across the world to double the number of screens showing the movie. This has helped boost its overall gross around the world.
Parasite is now playing in theaters in Japan.
Key Words and Expressions
- historic moment — a particular point in time that is important and recorded in history
- win the award — to get a prize as a reward for something he/she has done
- nominate — to recommend someone or something for a position or a prize
- actor / actress — someone who acts in a play or a film
- director — the person who gives instructions to people making a play or a film
- come close to — to almost achieve something
- filmmaking — the process of making a movie
- depict a scene — to show a piece of action
- film the movie — to make or record a movie
- now playing in theaters — a movie now being shown in movie theaters
Reading Comprehension Test
- How many Academy Awards did Parasite win?
- Which of the following isn’t true about Parasite?
a. It is set in Seoul.
b. It explores the relationship between the rich and the poor.
c. It features scenes of intense action.
d. It is the fourth Korean film to win “Best Foreign Film.”
- What happened after Parasite won “Best Picture”?
a. Bong Joon-ho announced he would film a new movie.
b. Theaters doubled the number of screens showing the film.
c. People watching from TV got angry.
d. The number of people visiting Seoul increased rapidly.
- Why is Parasite winning the Academy Award for “Best Picture” important?
- Why do so many people like Parasite?