Foreign films don’t often receive as much attention as big-budgeted domestic blockbusters, let alone horror thrillers. Riding the coattails of last year’s “Roma,” which walked away with a Foreign Feature nod, the South Korean hit “Parasite” evokes similar praise and could become a Best Picture nominee, too.
Known in its native language as “Gisaengchung,” Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” opened with some stellar reviews, so much so that The Hollywood Reporter now claims it ranks high among the Best Picture contenders. Since its release, “Parasite” has grossed $112 million worldwide and even won Cannes Film Festival’s Palmer d’Or.
The plot of “Parasite” is a subtle look at the differences in class between that of a family living in poverty and a far more fortunate one. The story follows the impoverished family’s son as he teaches English to the wealthier family’s daughter. As the heart-pounding mystery of “Parasite” unfolds, the more a sequestered tension ramps up, drawing both families together for better and worse.
In defining the “Parasite” Oscar buzz, Variety’s Brent Lang and Claudia Eller write, “It’s partly attributable to the way the movie’s subversive portrait of class tensions resonates at a time when economic inequality has become a dominant political issue.”
The Oscars are one weighty race. The first-ever foreign film to be nominated as Best Picture was Jean Renoir’s “The Grand Illusion” from 1938. Since then, only nine other foreign movies have made the Oscar’s Best Picture cut, that being merely nominated. None have ever won.
Thus far, though, it seems that “Parasite” is on many pundits’ radars. According to sources from THR, not only are a variety of Hollywood insiders discussing the film but nomination ballots are already being recorded with “Parasite” at the top of the list. Says one insider: “’Roma’ was a beautiful film, but it never had that ‘Oh my God!’ feeling. ‘Parasite’ is a passion vote.”
A multitude of likewise beloved films have also made Best Picture buzz this year, reported via THR. The list includes massive blockbusters, like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as well as star-studded hits like “The Lighthouse” and “Jojo Rabbit.” It’s a contentious battle, though many still consider “Parasite” to be at the forefront of them all.