USC students expressed emotional sentiments after “Parasite” made history at Sunday’s 92nd Academy Awards, winning four out of its six nominations including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.
It is the first foreign-language film to win the award for Best Picture. This monumental moment not only redefined Oscar history but also opened a new chapter of possibilities for Asian and Asian-American representation in Hollywood.
Freshman Echan Keum burst into tears when “Parasite” won Best Picture at the Oscars, not expecting it to win the most anticipated award of the night.
“As an Asian in film, this is kind of eye-opening,” Keum said, who majors in film and TV productions at The School of Cinematic Arts.
“Parasite” has become a worldwide phenomenon for its success and recognition in Western cinema. Keum added that experiencing this moment first hand gave him a newfound hope as a young filmmaker.
“It makes me feel as if those goals are now tangible,” he said. “It won’t just be a hobby anymore, and I can actually make a career of it which I think it’s huge for all Asian-American filmmakers.”
The film’s win on Sunday was important for many people, not just for the Asian American communities. USC alumni Sarah Hahm pointed out that none of the “Parasite’s” creative team are Asian-American.
“When we talk about Asian visibility in films and when we talk about Asian accessibility, [it is] their bodies [that] symbolizes so much in what we are able to do,” she said.
According to Hahm, who grew up watching Director Bong Joon Ho’s movies, the establishment of Korean cinema and the stories they convey have been prevalent for decades long before it became novel in America.
Although it took 92 years for Oscars to achieve this milestone, many hope the success of “Parasite” will foreshadow more Asian and Asian-American representation in the entertainment industry in the future.
“There’s a huge element of you don’t know what you are missing until you get a taste of it,” Keum said. “As a society we can move on from Hollywood being ran by the stereotype into what we want to see more now.”