Parasite Was Worshipped At The SAGs

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Turner.
There are several reasons to prefer the Screen Actors Guild Awards to the Oscars. First, the run-time — two hours is as long as anyone wants to be watching beautiful humans thanking their agents. Second, the people — it's all the actors you love in one room! Third? The SAGs have so far succeeded where the Oscars failed, acknowledging the acting chops of the impressive cast of Parasite with the Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture award.
Bong Joon Ho's South Korean thriller about class and wealth is the first foreign-language film ever to win for this category, and the celebratory mood was palpable as Song Kang Ho, So Dam Park, Choi Woo Shik, Lee Jung Eun, and Lee Sun Kyun took the stage to accept the actor statue.
Song, who plays the Kim patriarch in the much-lauded film, thanked SAG-AFTRA profusely in a speech translated by interpreter Choi Sung-jae, as director Bong filmed from the audience like a proud dad. "Although the title is Parasite, I think the story is about co-existence," he said. "But to be honored with the Best Ensemble Award, it occurs to me that maybe we haven't created such a bad movie. I am so honored to receive this award in front of such amazing actors I admire. I will never forget this beautiful night. Thank you so much."
The first hint that this would be the outcome of the night came early on in the proceedings when the cast received a roaring standing ovation before presenting their film.
The win prompted a similar reaction on Twitter, where fans celebrated a long overdue win.
This win puts Parasite, nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Director, Best International Feature Film, Best Editing, and Best Picture, one step closer to winning the coveted Oscar. Still, it's not a lock just yet. Sam Mendes' World War I epic 1917 won big at the Producers Guild Awards over the weekend, an award that has predicted 10 out of the last 12 Best Picture winners.
But even if Parasite doesn't win Best Picture, one could argue that this SAG win is a bigger deal. Asian actors have historically been overlooked in Hollywood (it's worth noting that Parasite was the exception in what was otherwise an overwhelmingly white roster of winners), and though Parasite has been an awards season darling, much of the acclaim has been directed at Bong, or the film's production design and editing, rather than the actors on-screen, despite their frankly astounding performances.
As Vulture's E. Alex Jung wrote in response to the Oscar nominations earlier this month: "There's an old prejudice at work here that sees Asian people as technical workers — hence the praise for Bong Joon Ho — and refuses to see us as fully human."
Still, as Justin Chang pointed out recently at the L.A. Times, it would be a mistake to view Parasite's success solely through the prism of a diversity win. Simply put, it was one of the best-acted, best-directed, and simply all-around best films of the year. It deserves all the praise.
So, congrats to Parasite and all together now: "Jessica, only child, Illinois, Chicago."
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