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The Korean movie Parasite has won four Oscars at the 92nd Academy Awards. Parasite was directed by Korean director Bong Joon Ho and is the first foreign language movie to win Best Picture. The movie also won the Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language movie. Although Parasite was nominated for six Oscars, it was not expected to win the most prestigious prizes like Best Picture and Best Director.

The win comes after years of controversy regarding diversity among the Academy’s members and criticism for a lack of diversity in their nominations. The criticism widely began in 2016 when the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced. Every actor and actress Oscar nomination was Caucasian and 4 of the 5 nominations for best director were also Caucasian. Since the 88th awards show, the Oscars have been under a greater amount of scrutiny each year.

The Academy has worked to try and increase the diversity of their membership and nominations but they have still faced repeated condemnation. This year there was disapproval at the lack of female director nominations. There have only been 5 nominations for female directors in the 92 year history of the Oscars and there has only been one female director winner.

The diversity issues are the reason why so few people expected Parasite to win so many awards, particularly the biggest awards. Many are hoping that the breakthrough of a subtitled film winning Best Picture for the first time could open the door for a wider variety of films to win in the future.

The success of Parasite at the Oscars has shone a light on Korean cinema as a whole. Korean cinema has been relatively popular since the start of the 21st century. There has been some success for Korean movies outside of Korea but there has been little awards success for them. Since the Oscars, there has been an increase of interest in Bong Joon Ho’s previous movies and a wider range of people are being exposed to them.

Difficult words

Prestigious (adj):  Inspiring respect and admiration.

Caucasian (adj): white-skinned; of European origin.

Scrutiny (n): Critical observation.

Condemnation (n): The action of criticising.

Breakthrough (n): A sudden discovery or development.

Subtitled (adj): Captions at the bottom of a film or tv show.

Shone (v): Give out bright light; past of shine.

Relatively (adv): To compare to something else.

Expose(v): To show or make visible.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Prestigious A. Captioned
2. Caucasian B. White
3. Scrutiny C. Criticism
4. Condemnation D. Compared.
5. Breakthrough E. Respected
6. Subtitled F. Give light.
7. Shone G. Development
8. Relatively H. Show
9. Expose I. Inspection

True or False?

1.  The German movie Parasite has won four Oscars. T / F

2.  Parasite has made history at the Oscars. T / F

3. Many people did not expect Parasite to win Best Picture. T / F

4. Diversity has rarely been an issue at the Oscars. T / F

5. The 88th Academy Awards were celebrated for their diversity.  T / F

6. The Oscars have been under a lot of scrutiny every year. T / F

7. The Academy has done nothing to be more diverse. T / F

8. The 2020 Oscars were criticised for a lack of female director nominations. T / F

9. Parasite has not prompted interest in Korean cinema. T / F

10. A wider range of people are being exposed to Bong Joon Ho’s films. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. Oscars / Parasite / The / won / Korean / has / movie / four

2. controversy / of / diversity / comes / win / regarding / after / The / years

3. was / Every / and / nomination / Caucasian / Oscar / actor / actress

4. has / to / worked / try / The / and / Academy / diversity / increase / the

5. for / success / has / Korean / There / been / movies / some

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Disapproval Announced Directed
Nominated Diversity Range
Cinema Membership Particularly

The Korean movie Parasite has won four Oscars at the 92nd Academy Awards. Parasite was (1)_____________ by Korean director Bong Joon Ho and is the first foreign language movie to win Best Picture. The movie also won the Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language movie. Although Parasite was (2)_______________ for six Oscars, it was not expected to win the most prestigious prizes like Best Picture and Best Director.

The win comes after years of controversy regarding (3)____________ among the Academy’s members and criticism for a lack of diversity in their nominations. The criticism widely began in 2016 when the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were (4)______________. Every actor and actress Oscar nomination was Caucasian  and 4 of the 5 nominations for best director were also Caucasian. Since the 88th awards show, the Oscars have been under a greater amount of scrutiny each year.

The Academy has worked to try and increase the diversity of their (5)______________ and nominations but they have still faced repeated condemnation. This year there was (6)_______________ at the lack of female director nominations. There have only been 5 nominations for female directors in the 92 year history of the Oscars and there has only been one female director winner.

The diversity issues are the reason why so few people expected Parasite to win so many awards, (7)_________________ the biggest awards. Many are hoping that the breakthrough of a subtitled film winning Best Picture for the first time could open the door for a wider variety of films to win in the future.

The success of Parasite at the Oscars has shone a light on Korean cinema as a whole. Korean (8)___________ has been relatively popular since the start of the 21st century. There has been some success for Korean movies outside of Korea but there has been little awards success for them. Since the Oscars, there has been an increase of interest in Bong Joon Ho’s previous movies and a wider (9)_________ of people are being exposed to them.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. What is your favourite movie?
5. What is the worst movie you ever watched?
6. Are you more likely to watch a movie if it won an Oscar?
7. Do you think the Oscars need more diversity?
8. How can the Oscars be made more diverse?
9. Do you pay attention to the Oscars?
10. Have you thought a movie should win an Oscar but it didn’t?
11. Have you watched Parasite?
12. Have you watched any other Korean movies?
13. Does your country have a strong movie industry?
14. Are cinemas popular in your country?
15. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema?
16. Are American movies popular in your country?
17. Do you have a favourite director?
18. Do you have a favourite actor?
19. What is your favourite movie genre?
20. What is a good movie you watched recently?