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Dear Uncle Oscar, Parasite Is A Better Film Than 1917??!!!



That  Joaquin Phoenix ‘s darker-than-darkest  portrayal  of Joker has  fetched him  the  Oscar  for Best Actor is  no surprise. Joaquin’s  Joker is a reflection of the times we live in.

That Rene Zellweger’s portrayal  of  the legendary  performer Judy Garland has won the Oscar for Best Actress is  a surprise. I  expected Scarlett Johansson’s popular Marriage  Story to take this one, although Sharmila Tagore  in Basu Bhattacharya’s Aavishkar—the  original Marriage Story—was  superior,  and  although  Cynthia Erivo in Harriet is far more powerful. But my favourite  performances by a  female lead  in 2019 were  Rene in Judy and Saoirse Ronan  in Little Women. 

 But no quibbles.  Now we come to Best Picture. We had towering entries here, none more towering than Sam Mendes’ 1917. And  still they gave the Oscar  for  Best picture and Best Director to  Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite??!!

Are  we celebrating diversity or  excellence? If the latter, then 1917 deserved to win.  Not that Parasite is   not  a masterpiece. It is. But  it is  not the finest film among the nominees. I find its denouement  to  be a problematic  bloody mess  , in more ways than won…err, one. To suggest  in such gruesome graphic  detail that class differences  can be eradicated  by mayhem  is a very dangerous  cringe-worthy premise. 

In hindsight I feel we all over-reacted to the  merits of Parasite. It lacks a humane quality. On the  other hand Sam Mendes’ film is also  about  savage brutality. But its  sense of compassion and humanism never deserts  the  film’s tone.

Speaking  of  humanism , Taika Waititi’s  very endearing  Jojo Rabbit has been  accused of humanizing Hitler.  But that’s not what this wonderfully cocky film does. It sets off to look at the brutality of Nazi Germany through the  eyes  of an innocent child who befriends an imaginary version of Hitler.I am glad it got honoured with an Oscar for best adapated  screenplay. I would have also liked  Scarlett Johansson’s  heartwarming performance to  be  honoured  for best  supporting actress instead  of Laura Dern  who was…well, Laura Dern in Marriage Story. Revving on  the verve non-stop.

 The imagination is a  wonderful tool to  alchemize  pain. Consider  us lucky that  major Oscars have not gone to  Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon  A Time In America. The  one  Oscar that  it got left me scratching my head. Was Brad Pitt honoured to make up for  all these years of  no-win at the Oscars?Was Pitt  really better than  Al Pacino in The Irishman?  Really???

To not see Martin Scorcese’ The Irishman and  Greta Gerwig’s Little Women  win in any major categories  is a matter of abiding sorrow. So smitten were the jury members by  Parasite that  they gave the Best Picture, Best Director AND   Best International feature Film to it. I wonder why they gave Best Costumes to Little Women. That too should’ve  gone to Parasite.

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