The fear was this would be a predictable Oscars. The thing about the Academy Awards is that they are the last of the award shows, so by the time they air we’ve seen all the guilds, the Independent Spirit Awards, and even the Golden Globes hand out awards. It seemed like we knew who was going to win all the big awards. To be fair, most of the predictions were right, including all four of the major acting awards. However, two awards were huge surprises. The expectation was that Sam Mendes would win Best Director and his film 1917 would win Best Picture. Then, Bong Joon-Ho and his film Parasite both won. It was a true surprise.
Granted, the prevailing wisdom was that Bong and Parasite were the only nominees with a chance to pull off upsets. It’s not like Ford vs. Ferrari came out of nowhere. Still, Parasite winning was not expected. It’s the first non-English film to win Best Picture. The South Korean film industry hadn’t even won Best Foreign Language Film in any previous years. This was a massive event.
Funnily enough, I had gone out to see Parasite the night prior to the Oscars. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to speak to its win. I am content with it from a film quality perspective. Parasite didn’t blow me away. I definitely feel more comfortable with Bong’s win for Best Director than the movie’s win for Best Picture. His craftsmanship and storytelling skills are apparent. However, it’s a fairly miserable film that seems pointed in its commentary about “the way things are today” but offers up no characters the least bit redeeming. It’s flawed. Not to a major degree. I think Parasite is quite good. It’s my fourth-favorite film of the year. That’s very good! And yet, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood… was sitting right there, begging to be honored. Alas. It’s never Quentin’s time apparently.
I was still excited when Bong one, and when Parasite won. It felt different. It was actually surprising. It was cool to see and enlivened the night. I mean, it blows Green Book out of the water. This will forever be a historical Oscars. Had 1917 and Sam Mendes won, it would have been the Oscars as usual. We can’t say that now. Parasite has made history, and as somebody who cares about film history that’s awesome to me. That will always be fighting in my mind with the fact I’m not in love with the film and had movies I’d rather have seen win. Fortunately, a man can hold contradicting thoughts in his head at the same time.