At 92, the Academy comes of age
By awarding Parasite, it recognised global art. But it must strive for more diversityUpdated: Feb 10, 2020 19:24 IST
The 92nd Academy Awards made history. The South Korean film, Parasite, became the first foreign language film to win Best Picture for its dark drama. It also bagged three other awards (Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film), and deservedly so. But that wasn’t all that the Oscars brought with it this year.
From Brad Pitt and Joaquin Phoenix to Renee Zellweger and Janelle Monáe, artistes weaved in the political, cultural and social context of our times to make the night bigger than a celebration of the best of film. Winners used the platform to underline the gravity of the climate crisis, highlight the need for minority and indigenous representation, expose gender discrimination, and caution against far-right extremism. Echoed across speeches was the overarching theme of justice and inclusivity in an unfair, unjust world. Phoenix (who won Best Actor for his role as a mentally ill, failed comic in Joker), quoting his brother, the late actor, River, said, “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow”.
But the Oscars didn’t get everything right. Not a single woman was nominated for Best Director, and the lack of ethnic representation continued to plague the awards. The Academy would do well to remember what actor Frances McDormand said in her 2018 Oscars acceptance: Inclusion Rider (a provision to ensure diversity in films). But for now, the Academy can breathe a sigh of relief. By awarding Parasite, it has, finally, acknowledged the need to diversify. However, it still has a long way to go before it is truly representative of film in all its glory.