The Difference One Inch Can Make

Parasite might be one of the most intriguing movies of 2019. If you haven’t heard of it you aren’t alone. Parasite is a Korean film directed by Bong Joon Ho that employs a plot never seen before. It depicts the relationship between an impoverished family, the Kims, and a wealthy, upper-class family, the Parks, in South Korea. The split between the rich and poor is symbolized by the parasitic-like actions of the Kim family, hence the title of the movie, Parasite. In an interview with Variety, Bong says that the basis of the movie is the universal hierarchy between the rich and poor.

This unique storyline has contributed to its phenomenal success this awards season. Parasite has topped the Rotten Tomatoes Awards Leaderboard at number one with 113 awards thus far. This beats the second top movie of the year: Marriage Story by 44 awards.

Based on box office numbers, Parasite was unlikely to do as well as it has this awards season. As of now, the movie has brought in more than $145 million internationally. However, since Parasite is a foreign film, you have to group it as a specialty movie. When you compare Parasite to other specialty films that are shown in the United States, Vanity Fair says it dominated in the box office, bringing in $125,421 per theater, which is the “biggest per-screen haul of any international film” in the country.

The road to success began at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival last May. Parasite was awarded the Palme d'Or, the highest prize that can be awarded at this festival. Cannes Film Festival kickstarted international awareness that Parasite is a movie to keep an eye on last year. In a world where everyone has a social media presence, having a movie have a presence as well, boosts its recognition worldwide. The Guardian says the difference between the success of Parasite and Roma, both foreign films, is the amount of acknowledgment the movie got from Generation Z. Parasite was coined with the hashtag #BongHive which gave the movie a strong social media platform to reach the world and gain recognition internationally. This hashtag was going around even before Parasite won the Palme d'Or, so once the movie began winning awards, their clout grew. 

More recently, Parasite has been reshaping the awards field in numerous ways. First, it’s gaining a lot of recognition regardless that the movie features all newcomer actors. Award shows like the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards generally predict who will win an Oscar at the Academy Awards. Parasite was the first foreign film to win the best ensemble SAG Award ever. Could this mean Parasite is on the way to winning the best picture Oscar? Well, it is definitely a possibility. In the past 24 years, 11 of the movies that won the best ensemble award go on to win the best picture award from the Oscars’. The Hollywood Reporter has a strong incentive to award Parasite to avoid backlash for seeming to exclusive to white, male actors.

After being awarded the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Golden Globes, Bong Joon Ho said, “Once you overcome the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”. One inch makes all the difference and we’ll see if it makes the difference at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9.

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