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As the Oscars make history, what will it mean for cinema fans?

PUBLISHED: 09:52 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 11 February 2020

Bong Joon-ho attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Bong Joon-ho attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

PA Wire

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.

Joaquin Phoenix in the press room at the 92nd Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA.  Photo  Jennifer Graylock/PA WireJoaquin Phoenix in the press room at the 92nd Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA. Photo Jennifer Graylock/PA Wire

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.

Renee Zellweger attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.  Photo Ian West/PA WireRenee Zellweger attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. Photo Ian West/PA Wire

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.

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.

Elton John, David Furnish and Bernie Taupin celebrate Elton John and Bernie Taupin winning an Academy Award for best original song during the the Elton John AIDS Foundation Viewing Party held at West Hollywood Park, Los Angeles, California, USA.. Photo  PA WireElton John, David Furnish and Bernie Taupin celebrate Elton John and Bernie Taupin winning an Academy Award for best original song during the the Elton John AIDS Foundation Viewing Party held at West Hollywood Park, Los Angeles, California, USA.. Photo PA Wire

The 2020 Oscars

Best picture: Parasite

You may also want to watch:

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)

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