Why was Parasite nominated for the Best Picture in 2020 Oscars? : TrueFilm
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Why was Parasite nominated for the Best Picture in 2020 Oscars?

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Posted by1 year ago
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Why was Parasite nominated for the Best Picture in 2020 Oscars?

I was under the impression that only English language films are nominated in the Oscars. Films made in other languages are piled into the Best International Feature Film category. Nobody pretended that the Oscars consider ALL films equally. So why did Parasite (an entirely Korean film) get nominated in the Best Picture category? What does it say about future nominations? What does it say about dozens of other brilliant international films that the Oscars ignored?

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level 1
· 1y

There was a non English language film nominated just last year (Roma). I'd say Parasite was nominated because it was a popular/easily digestible movie, it had a strong campaign, and because the director is fairly popular in the states (compared to other international directors).

Roma was for similar reasons. Strong distributor (Netflix), popular director (Cuaron), and not as digestible, but still fairly popular (hard to say since it didn't have a wide release).

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level 2
· 1y

For a film to be nominated, it must meet certain rules that the academy imposes. One of these rules is a technical premiere in USA theaters. If any rule is not fulfilled, no matter how popular or easily digestible the movie is, it won't be nominated.

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level 1
Comment deleted by user · 1y
level 2
· 1y
Altman-esque

Letters is not a foreign film for the reason you mentioned, but it's a foreign language film, like all that you've mentioned here. Technically all UK movies nominated for best picture are "foreign" compared to Hollywood but still in English.

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level 2
· 1y

The Artist won best picture in 2011, while not technically a foreign language film cus it was silent it was a french production.

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· 1y

English language films usually get the nominations cause the Oscars voting block usually only watch english language films. There is no rule preventing a foreign language film from being nominated.

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· 1y
level 1
· 1y

None of the people seem to have a concrete answer, but there are rules for Best Picture nominations. To be considered in this category, a foreign film must have been commercially released in Los Angeles County. And I believe it's the case for Parasite, therefore it is eligible.

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level 1
· 1y · edited 1y
There’s always an element of sadness

Parasite was nominated IMO because it truly ascended the art form to such a level that the minuscule barrier that is subtitles for American viewers didn’t matter. Good film is good film. I have a friend who is an aspiring screenwriter describe the movie to me before I saw it for myself as, “Demoralizing because I feel I could never achieve something so perfect.”

As for what it says about other foreign-language films that weren’t given their just due by the Academy in the past... I don’t believe it takes away anything from them. The Oscars isn’t the end all be all of what constitutes great cinema. What this nomination—and last year with Roma—does is hopefully set a precedent going forward that it doesn’t matter what language a film is in and if merited, should receive it’s appropriate recognition. A good director operates in the universal language... the cinematic language.

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level 1
· 1y · edited 1y

I think it's because the movie studios thought it would have a good shot at best picture as well as best foreign feature. Usually movie studios won't put a foreign language film up for best picture because they think it will have a better chance in the foreign language category and would rather focus on that. My concern is that seeing as Parasite is in both Best Picture AND Best International Feature, it could lose out on both as voters think it will win one of them so they vote for something else.

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level 2
· 1y

Best Picture is voted on a preferential ballot, so this type of thing can't really happen. At worst, a voter may decide to rank it 2nd instead of 1st. I don't see them bringing it all the way down to 9th just because they are already voting for it in Foreign Film.

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level 2
Op · 1y

What voters??

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By now, Akira has cemented itself as a classic of cult cinema. It often appears near the top of best anime films lists, let alone best films lists in general. We are all familiar with that fantastic sliding-bike shot, paid homage to in countless subsequent films as a moment of superb camp action. Its influence on modern sci-fi is among an elite cannon.

Nonetheless, it seems a safe bet that Akira could not be made today. Its gorgeous hand-drawn art style could never be matched by computer animation. There is some ineluctable quality about the violence of the film that surpasses what comes out of the anime circuit today, and that is dependent on the simple art style. Bullets enter bodies and erupt in a vibrant, arcade red. When this shade of red erupts out of the bodies of political dissidents, the disturbing novelty of the film appears even more acute.

One such moment occurs towards the start of the film. Akira begins with one of the most mesmerizing opening sequences ever devised. The traditional Japanese music overscoring the biker-gang duel, intercut with scenes of a labor uprising, intercut with some enigmatic agent fleeing with an alien/test-subject/mutant child all works together to achieve a breathtaking sequence. I have seen Akira through to the end only a couple of times, but have returned to this opening on more occasions than I can count. It is really perfect, right up to the pink smoke cloud encasing the troubled city in a jarring, if not relieving, mono-color.

If there were one shot I could point to as a sample of the discordant elements I am speaking about, it must be in this opening sequence, when the enigmatic man is shot, absolutely pulverized by a barrage of bullets. The sight of his body exploding in blood, mangled beyond recognition, always evokes in me a sense of the horrors of political violence. The shot incorporates some surrealist tendencies, a spotlight on the mangled body as the bullets enter, and an askew perspective we take to be the child’s, whom this man has died in an attempt at saving. Immediately, the child’s face appears. His deafening screams erupt, and the subsequent destruction of a whole city block seems a quite rational sequence of events, despite the actual absurdity of the physical world reacting in an emotional manner. Schematically, we might outline these moments as follows: Violence – horror – destruction.

The political philosophy of Akira is embedded, I believe, in these three moments. We could also understand them as an empirical moment (the sight of the body mangled) the pathological internalization (the shot of the child screaming) and subsequently these pathological effects made manifest in the physical (destruction). Another way of saying this is that there is a clear link between the mental and the physical, a causality of pathos and emotion holding the world in relation.

This is all incredibly appropriate considering the central device of the film; Akira is, for all its mesmerizing detours, a film about telekinesis. Of course, this is the supernatural ability to control the world with one’s mind. At one point Tetsuo, the antagonist, puts his hand out about a foot from a glass of water, but instead of picking up the glass of water, the glass moves into his hand. By the end of the film, it is understood that as a result of an inferiority complex internalized since childhood, Tetsuo effectively self-denigrates into an atomic detonation. A similar mechanism of storytelling underscores these moments: the internal and the external, acting in tandem.

Earlier, in a less climactic moment, but equally masterful in terms of filmmaking – Kaneda, the hero of the film, has escaped from a detention center teeming with the political prisoners captured after the event of the first act. Kaneda, ambivalent to the political machinations going on around him, has become transfixed with a woman he encounters in police custody. Helping her escape the center, he begins chatting with her outside in a ridiculous attempt at wooing her. She shows no interest in his advances and brushes him off. He responds awfully, berating her, and by the end of his tirade suggests that she owes him a sexual recuperation for having rescued her from the prison. The speech is, needless to say, very distasteful. But at the exact finale of his tirade, at the exact moment he finishes calling her a “bitch,” a bomb goes off in the background, cementing the twang of pathos we, the viewer, feel when we hear (or read in subtitles) the jarring word. It is a minor touch, but very in-line with the cinematic tendency of the film I am speaking of.

In exact terms, this tendency is to mirror pathological sentiments with material manifestations. The emotions of the characters somehow match up with material referents in the physical. Thus, we have the political side-plots driving the film, dissatisfactions with modernity and corruption resulting in contingent manifestations of violence. At one point, a revolutionary cult-member paints a graffiti on a bridge, reading, “Reject civilization – Embrace annihilation.” He is promptly detained and beaten by the police.

There are moments in the film when characters attempt to explain a complex metaphysical philosophy that compliments this interrelation of empirical-internal-external, a rugged philosophy on par with Taoist thought; we could also call these moments Hegelian, and include them in the canon of basic literary politics. Oedipus, of course, is the victim of his own heinous actions made manifest in the physical world. Macbeth, slaying a motley of characters in his political assent, sows his own demise. In a similar way, the pathological tensions in Akira are depicted as not merely contingent upon, or consequential to events, but somehow invested in the events themselves, as a metaphysical causality.

To some extent, I think any good story must incorporate the elements I have been talking about. The conflict of a story must be somehow related to the characters of the individuals involved. Whether the conflict decides, or is decided by the characters, in a deterministic sense, is a common point of divergence. Think of the Hebrew Bible, where characters are victims of cosmic abuse. Akira seems to be on the opposite end, a story where the characters determine the world instead of vic-versa. Literally, Telekenis is the supernatural act of effecting the world with pathos alone. It is total control, the total capacity to translate normative desires and ethical wishes "oughts" into physical actuality — a fundamental premise at the core or all political movements.

Nonetheless, tragedy erupts, a trope that usually implicates fate and subjection to the forces of destiny. Again the film works between discordant elements: Telekinesis and fatalism. No matter the political machinations and desires all that happens is that things become muddled. By the end of the film total "annihilation" is indeed the only means of building anew.

I like to think this contributes to the films overall genius, a literary-political thematic that may be called Karma, Fate, or just aggregate societal tension. In any case, Akira is a film that succeeds on this impressive register of storytelling, implicating human agency and pathos in the events of the world, while simultaneously absolving humanity as the victims of uncontrollable defects -- as the best tragedies do.

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Posted by3 days ago

I was introduced to Buñuel because I knew of Dalí, and I found out that while Buñuel was in Paris from 1925 to whenever he returned to Spain to direct Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (Land without bread), he worked with Dalí to write these two films. First of all, I have not seen Buñuel's later work and I probably should, from what I know his later work would be less surrealistic and more leaning on realism, was this because of the Spanish civil war? Did Buñuel become so devastated by the destruction of his country that he changed entirely after the Second World War? He moved to Mexico too which makes me believe he still had strong ties with his culture and people. What I'm curious about is choices to not return to surrealism. Does he show surrealistic influence even after these troubled decades? In an Interview made in 1970, he said that in his life there was a lot of doubt, doubts about religion, doubts about women and power. I think his first two film are very well structured and I think they contain metaphors and symbols internally. For example, in Un Chien Andalou I Think he is making clear the difference between a man and a woman, to a more basic level (without wanting to offend anyone), since the man is nearly seen as a beast in this film, going through his journey to become more sophisticated and gentle, whereas the woman is a more sacred being. Nevertheless, it strikes me the fact that Buñuel would move to a more realistic edge, since surrealism is definitely a major quality of his. Maybe I am speaking too soon since I have not seen many of his later work, or else I might be missing something.

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