Parasite Makes History at the SAG Awards

Erica Gonzales
Photo credit: ROBYN BECK - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • The cast of Parasite took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
  • The Bong Joon-ho-directed movie is the first foreign language film to take home the award at the SAGs.
  • The victory stands out as the winners at tonight's ceremony lacked in diversity.

Parasite became the first foreign language film to win the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in the history of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The widely acclaimed South Korean thriller, a brutal commentary on class and wealth directed by Bong Joon-ho, trumped fellow nominees that boasted big-name movie stars: The Irishman, Bombshell, Jojo Rabbit, and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood. The cast also received a two-minute standing ovation from the Hollywood crowd when they presented the film earlier in the night, proving just how celebrated Parasite is.

The win is significant considering almost all of the winners at tonight's ceremony—which included Laura Dern, Brad Pitt, Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Aniston, and the cast of The Crown—were white. The nominee pools were lacking in diversity to begin with, but actors of color in the running this year included Jaime Foxx (Just Mercy), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Lupita Nyong'o (Us), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Mahershala Ali (True Detective), and Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us).

Parasite's individual actors—Chang Hyae-jin, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Jung Hyeon-jun, Jung Ji-so, Lee Jung-eun, Lee Sun-kyun, Park Myung-hoon, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho—weren't nominated in individual acting categories.

Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian - Getty Images

For the Bong-directed film to win the biggest award at the SAGs is a small victory in an awards circuit where the actors (and directors) being recognized are mostly white. The roster of Golden Globes winners, BAFTA nominees, and Oscar nominees this year were all criticized for neglecting laudable performances from actors of color.

There is some hope for Parasite at the 2020 Oscars on February 9, where it's nominated for Best Picture and Best International Film (it's the first South Korean film to do so, according to Variety). It's also a contender in the director, screenplay, production design, and editing categories, but the cast was also pushed aside in solo acting categories.

Is it possible that upcoming ceremonies in 2020 will award a more diverse crowd of winners? Maybe, but considering who's been nominated and honored (repeatedly) so far, we shouldn't keep our hopes up, unfortunately.

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