My Case of posts outlining the pros and cons of the major Oscar nominees from 2019 brings us to the first entry for Best Director and that’s Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite.
The Case for Bong Joon-Ho
After years of being a critical darling with Memories of Murder, The Host, Snowpiercer, and Okja, the South Korean filmmaker broke through in the awards space in a massive way with the genre defying Parasite. The film won the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival unanimously and is the best reviewed picture of the year. Supporters of Parasite are beyond passionate. In a somewhat surprising victory, the movie’s cast won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Competing against a field of legends that includes Scorsese and Tarantino, Joon-Ho is the bright shiny object for voters.
The Case Against Bong Joon-Ho
Two words: Sam Mendes. In making the World War I epic 1917, Mendes has picked up the hardware in this category’s major indicators: the Golden Globes and, especially, the Directors Guild of America.
It appears Best Director has come down to Joon-Ho and Mendes. This race has split with Best Picture five out the past nine years. Parasite could win Best Picture with Mendes taking director and vice versa. The precursors favor Mendes, but the love for this is indeed a factor.
My Case of posts will continue with Joaquin Phoenix in Joker!
We have reached the final film in my Case of posts for 2019’s nine Best Picture nominees and it’s time to consider Bong Joon-Ho’s South Korean export Parasite. If you need to catch up on my previous eight entries, you can peruse them right here:
And now to Parasite!
The Case for Parasite
The pic, which defies easy genre descriptions, certainly has critics on its side. With a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, this is the best reviewed film of the year and its admirers are passionate and vocal. This is a slam dunk winner for the newly coined Best International Feature Film. Over the weekend, Parasite won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards and it was the only foreign pic to ever do so. For a subtitled film, it’s been a box office success stateside at $27 million and counting. The buzz has been strong for months after it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Joon-Ho is an acclaimed filmmaker (with heralded efforts like Memories of Murder, The Host and Snowpiercer) who’s at last garnering the awards season love.
The Case Against Parasite
If this were to win Best Picture, it would constitute a first. A foreign language title has never won the top prize. Last year’s Roma was the front runner, but it lost to Green Book. It is also rare for a Picture recipient to have none of its actors nominated and that’s the case here.
Even with the fact that it would need to make history, Parasite currently stands alongside 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as the biggest threats to win it all. If the Directors Guild of America (DGA) honors Joon-Ho instead of Sam Mendes for 1917 this weekend, expect that chatter to get even louder.
My Case of posts will continue right up until Oscar day! While the movies themselves have all received their treatment, the nominated directors and actors will get their attention as well. Stay tuned…
Director Boon Joon-ho has been a critical darling for years with works including The Host and Snowpiercer. He may now reach the radar of Oscar voters as his dark comedy Parasite debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and today won the Palme d’Or.
This is the first Korean picture to take the festival’s top prize. If South Korea opts to make Parasite its selection for the newly dubbed Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film), it stands a serious shot at inclusion. If it were to do so, Parasite would be the first Oscar nominee from that nation.
Bottom line: the Cannes Film Festival (as usual) has provided possibilities when it comes to overseas Academy players. Count this as one of them.