Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Joaquin Phoenix and the Koreans Triumph @ The Oscars

At the Oscars on Sunday, unsurprisingly, Joaquin Phoenix (left) emerged as Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Arthur Fleck in “Joker”.

This marks his first Oscar win, having being nominated three times before for The Master (2013), Walk the Line (2006) and Gladiator (2001).

While I was elated – it was “Parasite”, the deliciously dark Korean comedy that made me sit up. Really sit up.

A riotous social satire that’s as gloriously entertaining as it is deeply sardonic, according to Vulture’s David Edelstein. 

It was only yesterday that I was telling myself that I should go and watch it. After all, it had generated a lot of buzz even outside of its home country. 

This darkly funny thriller that pierces you with its unsparing social indictment has been wildly successful around the world. Since its release, “Parasite” has grossed more than $160.8 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. 

It has taken home the prestigious Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or and an "outstanding performance" honor for its cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. And at the Bafta Film Awards, it emerged victorious for the Best Film Not in the English Language, as well as Best Original Screenplay (director Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won share screenwriting credits for the film). 

The crème de la crème was winning the Academy Award for Best Picture – the first foreign language film to earn the accolade.

That was not the only award – it also took best director, best original screenplay and best international film. 

Parasite is a beautifully shot, sympathetically told, intimate social drama, which is paced to perfection until the end when what was a subtle, nuanced work of art lurches into the melodramatic before dropping you onto the floor with a loud thud. 

The movie's title conveys the humiliation endured by the poor forced to live off the wealthy, for whom the word parasite is equally applicable. And it questions the real-life issues that govern our lives. 

Only ten foreign-language films have previously been nominated for best picture – but none of them won. Until now. 

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie commands an approval rating of 99% based on 393 reviews, with an average rating of 9.38/10. 

The website's critical consensus reads: "An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho (right) in near-total command of his craft". 

Now the movie theater beckons.

BTW, for the first time in its 92-year history, Sunday's Oscars hit an all-time low in the ratings department. 

US viewership dropped 20 percent from a year ago, to an average TV audience of just 23.6 million total viewers, according to Walt Disney Company-owned ABC, citing data from Nielsen.

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