As the Oscars make history, what will it mean for cinema fans?
- Credit: PA
The Oscars have made history by awarding their coveted Best Picture trophy to foreign language film Parasite. We take a look at what this could mean to cinema-going in the future.
And so South Korean drama Parasite becomes the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at The Oscars. What does this mean? How important is this milestone?
After Roma's nomination last year and Alfonso Cuarón's win for Best Director, it's been clear that the Oscars have swiftly become a lot friendlier towards foreign language films in its high profile categories. Winning Best Picture and Bong Joon-ho winning Best Director immediately gives the film a lot more visibility and consequently many more people will want to see it.
Immediately Parasite stops being that 'foreign film' that people have half heard about because all the critics have been raving about it and becomes a must-see movie…but…depending on where you live, it can be very hard to see the 'must-see film of the year.'
The critics may love the film, the Oscar voters may love the film but sometimes it's hard to believe that the film distributors themselves love their own movies. For example in 2017, Moonlight won Best Picture - after the famous La La Land mix-up - but it still only received a limited release in cinemas, finishing up as the 119th most watched film in the USA and 62nd top film in the UK.
I fear that a similar fate may befall Parasite. According to the Film Distributors Association, Parasite was released on the big screen last Friday on just 100 screens. When you realise that most run-of-the-mill mainstream films are released on 350 screens, it becomes apparent that actually seeing this award-winning film may present something of a problem.
If you assume that the majority of the 100 screens showing Parasite will be in the major urban centres of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with cultural centres like Brighton, Southampton and Bristol, then it doesn't leave much room for the rest of us.
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We can hope that the distributors, in light of the Oscar win, may choose to expand the print-run but that's not a given. They may prefer to make their original 100 digital 'prints' work harder for longer - that's the good thing about digital technology the film itself doesn't get scratched or damaged the longer it is in circulation.
Thankfully, East Anglia is well served with independent cinemas and I am sure that Ipswich Film Theatre, Cinema City in Norwich, the Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds, the Woodbridge Riverside and Aldeburgh Cinema will pick up this film at some point but it would be nice if the film could be made available for widespread distribution while its historic win is still fresh in people's minds, before the next tranch of spandex-clad superheroes come along to steal the headlines and it ends up like Moonlight as a footnote in the year-end box office report rather than being a box office champion which will help encourage Hollywood to provide a more diverse diet at the local multiplex.
The 2020 Oscars
Best picture: Parasite
Best director: Parasite - Bong Joon-ho
Best actress: Renee Zellweger - Judy
Best actor: Joaquin Phoenix - Joker
Best supporting actress: Laura Dern - Marriage Story
Best supporting actor: Brad Pitt - Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Best original screenplay: Parasite - Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin Won
Best adapted screenplay: Jojo Rabbit - Taika Waititi
Best international feature: Parasite - South Korea
Best animated feature: Toy Story 4
Best cinematography: 1917 - Roger Deakins
Best visual effects: 1917 - Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler & Dominic Tuohy
Best original song: (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again - Rocketman (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)