Why Foreign Films Shouldn’t Win Oscars – President Trump
At a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, the US president whipped up the more racist members of his fanbase when he expressed – in his usual, balanced way – his disappointment that Parasite, a dark social satire in Korean, won Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars.
“How bad were the Academy Awards this year?” he asked the crowd, apropos of nothing. “The winner is a movie from South Korea, what the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade and on top of it, they give them the best movie of the year.”
“Was it good?” Trump asked. “I don’t know. I’m looking for, like – can we get like Gone With The Wind back, please?”
An interesting choice there, Don, and not just because awarding Best Picture to a film that was released 80 years seems a bit regressive, even by the Academy’s standards.
Gone with the Wind is the sort of story that Donald Trump can get on board with, because it’s set during the Civil War, and features black people as slaves and white people as their masters. It’s surely no accident that he plucked it from the list of Best Picture winners, knowing it would excite his nostalgia-huffing groupies. Their cheers probably weren’t in recognition of Ernest Haller’s lush cinematography.
Of course, the “trade problems” with South Korea are just a smokescreen for his bigoted views that American films should win the shiny trophies at American award ceremonies, and that anything in another language should not compete for the top prizes.
At the Golden Globes earlier this year, Parasite director Bong Joon Ho teased the audience with his speech when he won for Best Foreign Language film, saying, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
All awards season Bong has been trolling people like Trump, who are irate that Parasite beat something like the Americana-on-crack Ford vs Ferrari (which even had its title changed from Le Mans ’66 for American audiences, as studios were fearful they might not get the French title of the car race). That they’ve got so worked up makes its win even sweeter.
Presumably Trump’s fans will wait for the HBO adaptation of Parasite, with Anchorman director Adam McKay on board to work with Bong, and Mark Ruffalo reportedly starring. It would be incredibly Trumpian to only acknowledge the masterful storytelling of a foreign director when it’s been repackaged into something a little more white.
Ultimately, the best response to Trump’s words came from Neon, the production studio behind Parasite, who tweeted to say, “Understandable, he can’t read” with #Bong2020 added to the end.