The 92nd Academy Awards were held last night and one of the biggest winners to emerge from the ceremony was South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho. The writer-director-producer collected four Oscars, winning for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Picture. The final award was the most notable and exciting of the night as it marked the first time that a foreign language picture has been anointed Best Picture.
Most cinephiles were thrilled to see Parasite lavished with such well-deserved recognition. The film is a darkly funny, consistently suspenseful story about an impoverished family in Seoul gradually infiltrating the household of an incredibly wealthy family by lying about their professional qualifications and hiding the fact that they’re related. It’s one of the best movies to come out in years and manages to be both supremely entertaining and deeply topical.
Bong Joon-Ho’s acceptance remarks were heartfelt.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 10, 2020
Unfortunately, not everyone was happy about Parasite’s victories. As they so often do, conservatives lept at the chance to stoke inane culture war grievances. Some drew issue with the idea of a foreign language film winning Best Picture in what amounted to barely-concealed xenophobic criticisms. Others seemed angry about the film’s commentary on class since even acknowledging the current state of income inequality is absolutely anathema to a Republican Party which exists almost solely to prop up and shill for the ultra-rich.
Blaze TV’s Jon Miller tweeted his annoyance that someone named “Bong Joon Ho” beat out Quentin Tarantino for best original screenplay and mocked the Korean director for simply saying “great honor, thank you” before giving the rest of his speech in Korean with the help of a translator.
“These people are the destruction of America,” Miller concluded, in what can only be described as one of the most absurd, right-wing grievance complaints to ever hit Twitter.
After widespread backlash, he followed it up with a tweet insisting that the “these people” he was referring to did not mean Koreans, but “those in Hollywood” who awarded the film. He then made it explicitly clear that he dislikes the brilliant film because it “stokes flames of class warfare.” Clearly, this is not a man who should be taken seriously in any kind of intellectual or creative sense.
“These people” are obviously not Koreans but those in Hollywood awarding a foreign film that stokes flames of class warfare over 2 films I thought were more deserving simply to show how woke they are.That should be clear from the rest of what I tweeted about tonight’s production.
— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) February 10, 2020
John Legend had the perfect response to Miller’s ignorant tweet.
Do they pay you for these dumb takes or is this something you do for fun
— John Legend (@johnlegend) February 10, 2020
Right-wing personality and erstwhile actor Steven Crowder filmed himself and his team decrying Parasite’s win, offering the kind of bargain-basement commentary that has come to define his brand. His response perfectly exemplifies the strain of profound resentment that many on the right, Trump included, feel towards Hollywood. They’re desperate to be accepted into the ranks of the glitterati and their failure to achieve success in the entertainment spheres propels them to lash out bitterly.
Robert Storms, a noted anti-social justice Youtuber, went on an embarrassing rant about Parasite and suggested that the Joker was far more deserving of the win. Storms channel includes numerous similarly unhinged screeds against films and television series that deal with race and gender and he represents a great example of the bizarre coalition that has formed between video game/comic/film aficionados and reactionaries. Rather than choosing to simply enjoy the entertainment they like and ignore the material they don’t, these (mostly male) critics feel the need to incessantly whine about any art that has even a hint of progressivism underpinning its worldviews. It’s an indulgent and joyless lens through which to view entertainment.
While these conservatives whine themselves red in the face, the rest of us can continue to enjoy great movies like Parasite without working ourselves into a spittle-flecked furor over who is chosen to receive little golden statues.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.