By Steven Duong, guest contributor
Earlier this month the Oscars ended in a landslide, more specifically a “Bongslide,” led by Bong Joon Ho winning four awards, one being in the ultimate “Best Picture” category. This caught many by surprise, leaving us to question whether or not this is a sign of the changing industry or just a fluke.
Bong Joon Ho won in three other categories, too: best director, best original screenplay, and international film. This is the first
time for a foreign film to ever receive a nomination for a main category, much less actually win.
When an Asian-American film studies student, Thomas Beck, was asked for his thoughts on Parasite winning, he responded, “It feels like we, as Asians, are finally being recognized and taken more seriously. It’s crazy because it came out of nowhere. I am extremely proud and hope this leads to many more opportunities down the line too.”
This win means not only so much to aspiring Asian filmmakers but also any person of color who is looking for a career in this historically white industry.
On Sunday night, Bong tied Walt Disney for winning the most Oscars at one time. However, the question remains: how will this actually influence those top key players within this industry moving forward? Are we looking at not just inclusion, but will people actually begin treating all creators their due credit and view them on a level playing field?
1985. That is the last time an Asian brought home an Oscar. No Asian woman has ever won an Oscar, but Merle Oberons was nominated for her role in “The Dark Angel” in 1935. Asian underrepresentation in the film industry is getting more light shed upon it, but Bong winning this year will only be remembered if it is the first of a chain of events to come. Because, honestly, how many people even knew an Asian actor won an Oscar before? That’s right—not many.
People are buzzing and talking about the huge win, but how long will this win actually last? Will it just become another fad that ends up fading away like so many other things on social media nowadays? “I honestly have no idea. Like I said earlier, the people at the top that run anything control everything pretty much, and if they decide not to nominate any foreign films next year for major awards, then there’s nothing we can really do. We are just so stuck in old ways of thinking and doing things; it is not easy by any means to bring about change,” explained George Harrison, an avid film-watcher who dabbles in film reviews.
However, many Asians are simply ecstatic because “an Oscar is still an Oscar.” Sabrina Nguyen, an Asian-American freshman at Webster exclaimed, “Yes, I am so freaking proud. Like, I just wanna cry if I think about it too hard… Because of the fact that it is literally the first foreign film to win in the main category like that. It was an Asian film too! Asians have always been stereotyped and their skills downplayed. That’s why this is such a big deal. It opens up the doors for so many new opportunities.”