Trump attacks best picture winner Parasite for being South Korean


Courtesy of Neon

Maya Alexander

The 2020 Academy Awards saw an unprecedented night of wins thanks to the front-runner film Parasite

The movie directed by Bong Joon-Ho details the lives of two families, the Park’s and the Kim’s, that reside on opposite sides of South Korea’s economic strata.

The movie depicts the class warfare that ignites as the destitute Kim family deceive their way into working for the wealthy Park family by posing as service industry workers who are more qualified for the positions than the Kim’s seem to let on.

The film is a masterclass in storytelling as Bong is able to weave seamlessly through the ultimate destruction of the Kim family in scenes that almost seem as if the audience is watching a ballet dance with the acting and directing allowing for an almost ethereal experience when watching it all play out. 

Trump critiqued the film because of its origin saying, “The winner is a movie from South Korea. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea, with trade. And after all that, they give them best movie of the year?”

After admitting to never actually seeing the movie, Trump continued on by saying “Let’s get Gone with the Wind. Can we get Gone with the Wind back please? Sunset Boulevard, so many great movies. ‘The winner is, from South Korea…’ I thought it was best foreign film, best foreign movie. No! Did this ever happen before?”

His comments were met with immediate backlash with veteran Broadway actress Bette Midler tweeting, “I’m more upset that a parasite won the White House.” Alongside Midler, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight John Oliver exclaimed, “Of course Trump likes Gone with the Wind…It’s so on-brand!”

The president also attacked actor Brad Pitt, who won his first Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role as stunt double Cliff Booth in the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood directed by Quentin Tarantino.

During Pitt’s acceptance speech, he critiqued Republican senators for blocking witness testimony from former White House national security adviser John Bolton during the Jan. and Feb. impeachment trial.

On Pitt, Trump told the crowd that he “was never a big fan of his” and that the actor “got up, said a little wise guy thing. He’s a little wise guy.”

Regardless of those comments, Trump’s statements about Parasite drew on the historical issues surrounding foreign language films and the Academy Awards.

Furthermore, the president’s praising of 1939’s Gone with the Wind, a movie that has been lambasted by critics as being twee and forgiving to the Confederate Army, highlights the decades-long history of racism within the film industry and the audiences they were catering to.

Since its inception, only 12 awards have been given out to actors and actresses for non-English performances, with only three awards given to actors in films produced outside of the United States.

Parasite’s director Bong Joon-Ho pointed out this lack of international diversity in an article published by Vulture in October 2019 saying, “The Oscars are not an international film festival. They’re very local.”

The lack of attention to foreign films has been a critique of the Oscars as it is looked to by many as being an important voice and measure of success to those in and outside the film industry.

The language of film is a universal one and the lack of international representation within the Academy Awards has been critiqued as an egregious disservice to American audiences who believe that the only good films are those in English and produced in the United States.

Trump’s comments echo years of dismissing absolutely brilliant and groundbreaking foreign cinema in favor of safer and less controversial American films.

The disappointing lack of true Academy recognition for these films at the time has now begun to become rectified, starting with this year’s best picture winner, Parasite.

After winning the Golden Globe for best foreign language film, Bong Joon-Ho said, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” 

And hopefully, this film will become the catalyst for changing what people believe true cinema can look like.