SAG Awards were a prelude to Oscar buzz, as Parasite takes top honours

Published On January 20, 2020 | By Raymond Brooks | Arts
Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, accompanied by interpreter Sharon Choi, accepts the Best Director award at the 25th Critics Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on January 12, 2020.(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Raymond Brooks

The 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards had a surprising script.

The South Korean dark comedy thriller Parasite took home the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, while The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Crown took the TV ensemble prizes for comedy and drama respectively.

Parasite is the first foreign-language film to win the top prize in the SAG awards’ 26-year-history. It also won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and is nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best International Feature Film. Further praise was earned after winning the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award, with a unanimous vote, and the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director.

Jim Slotek, of the Toronto Film Critics Association, said “the governing bodies of the award shows reflect each group’s decision. The Golden Globes are run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In other words, journalists.”

Whereas, the SAG awards are focused entirely on performances and are a strong indicator of success at the Oscars because several of these actors are part of the Oscars governing body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Slotek said that “Guild Awards like the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild and Directors Guild are the ones to pay attention to if you want to win your office Oscar pool.”

Slotek said nostalgia is usually the driving force.

“Trophies are tossed towards nostalgia-vehicles is because these organizations skew older,” said Slotek. However, the “younger voters are the likely reason Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite – in my opinion, the best movie of the year – won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.”

“I am so honoured to receive this award. I will never forget such a beautiful night,” Song Kang Ho, Parasite‘s lead actor said through an interpreter.

“The movie tests the definitions of comedy and tragedy, not to mention the film’s title as well,” wrote Peter Howell in his review in the Toronto Star. “Director Bong Joon-ho’s films all contain a deep empathy for the underclass and an appreciation of the essential absurdity of life.”

Parasite is a social satire, set in South Korea, and explores the wealth gap between the poor and wealthy. It does so, through the eyes of four members of a poor household who seek employment from a wealthy family by posing as unrelated and highly-qualified employees.

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