‘Parasite’ latches onto fans hearts ahead of Oscars

It’s time for the Academy to start recognizing a wider range of cinema

Film is universal. 

Every person, despite personal background, has the equal opportunity to gain inspiration from the films that they expose themselves to. Beneath the cover of a dim-lit theatre, we are all the same, hoping to undergo something at least a little bit magical. 

“Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon Ho, did much more than meet the low cinematic bar that many movie-goers set for themselves. Through a display of compelling performances, unexpected twists and haunting political realism, the film leaves a harrowing impression on anyone who sees it, earning six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. 

The film has already received more than 20 wins for Best Picture at various other film award ceremonies such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” comes in second with a meager six wins.

It’s no surprise that the underdog film is being recognized with such a myriad of praise due to its unique quality and essence.

The small number of us who saw “Parasite” can honestly say that we will never be the same again. To date, I have not had a film leave such an eye-opening effect on me.

But many still feel that the Academy is incapable of awarding Best Picture to any foreign film, even one as masterful and deserving as “Parasite.”

The Foreign Film category, added to the Academy Awards in 1947, and has given a ton of films, “Parasite” included, nominations that they otherwise might not have received. The Foreign Film category has given worthy recognition to a lot of really great films, such as “Life is Beautiful” and “Amour” but it still somehow implies that filmmaking outside of the U.S. is not good enough to be considered for the overall Best Picture award.

And the discriminatory practices of the Academy aren’t new.

In 2016 there weren’t any black actors nominated, and there is still a lack of diversity among the nominees this year. 

Award shows should aim to highlight worthy achievement from worthy people of all backgrounds all over the world. This seems like common sense and yet we still lack adequate representation between our winners and nominees.

And Joon Ho’s masterpiece is no exception.

Trying to explain the intrigue or even the plot of this dark comedy-thriller is hard without ruining the thrill of the experience. In a nutshell, the film follows the story of a lower-class Korean family of grifters who are slowly infiltrating the home of an upper-class family through shifty manipulation. 

At the beginning of this film it seems like Joon Ho is attempting a comedic combination of “Robin Hood” and “The Sting,” but as the story progresses it becomes blatantly apparent that there is a darkness lurking beneath the plot, which brings about a much more significant meaning.

The impeccable visual effects and musical composition of the film accompany Boon-ho’s exceptional storytelling. Both the camerawork and instrumental track adapt quickly to fit the changing tone of the film playing with an aspect of night and day, or rather truth and deception, making it even more apparent how much of a masterpiece the work really is. 

There’s no comparing “Parasite” to the eight other films nominated this season.

While all the films nominated this year would be worthy choices for Best Film, with the possible exception of “The Irishman,” nothing even touches the cinematic originality that Joon Ho was able to highlight on the big screen. 

If “Parasite” won on Sunday it would be the first of only 11 foreign films ever nominated to take home that title, which would mean a huge change for the range of movies recognized by the Academy. 

 In Joon Ho’s inspiring Golden Globes acceptance speech he told viewers that, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” He questioned the number of Oscar-worthy films that we missed out on over the last 92 years due to our own callowness. 

If the Academy chooses to overlook “Parasite” this week it will be a huge upset and just give an even clearer image of the partiality that so many already claim those behind the Oscars possess. 

Regardless of the result, “Parasite” is a phenomenal and ground-breaking film that has changed the way countless people think about foreign films. Joon Ho shows vision in his work that is executed flawlessly by a talented cast and crew. His profound creation demonstrates the universal essence of humanity so often streaked across the silver screen.

The opinion desk can be reached at opinion@ubspectrum.com.