When it comes to the Oscars, President Donald Trump’s motto is apparently (and perhaps unsurprisingly) America First.
At a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday, Trump blasted the motion picture academy for giving the best picture prize at this year’s Oscars to Bong Joon Ho’s acclaimed class satire ‘Parasite’, suggesting that the award should not have gone to a film from South Korea.
“How bad were the Academy Awards this year?” Trump asked the crowd, eliciting a chorus of boos. “Did you see it? The winner is ... a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that, they give him best movie of the year?”
The first foreign-language film ever to win the best picture prize in the history of the awards, ‘Parasite’ — a genre-scrambling thriller that explores the divide between rich and poor — won four Oscars in total, including awards for directing, original screenplay and international feature.
Trump admitted that he had not, in fact, seen ‘Parasite’.
“Was it good? I don’t know,” he said, going on to reflect wistfully on classic Hollywood movies. “Let’s get ‘Gone With the Wind’ back, please? ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ So many great movies. I thought it was best foreign film, no?”
(A dozen foreign-language films have earned best picture nominations over the years, including last year’s ‘Roma’, though ‘Parasite’ was the first from South Korea; the category formerly known as foreign-language film was renamed international feature this year.)
In response to the president’s criticism, Neon, the distributor of ‘Parasite’, fired back on Twitter at the president’s apparent aversion to subtitled movies: “Understandable, he can’t read.”
Later in his rally speech, Trump took aim at Brad Pitt, who delivered a jab at the Senate’s impeachment trial when he accepted his supporting actor trophy for ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’. (“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said.)
“I was never a big fan of his,” Trump said of Pitt. “He got up, said a little wise guy thing. He’s a little wise guy.”
Though Trump is famously a voracious watcher of television, he is not known to be as ardent — or at least as consistent — a cinephile. On the one hand, in a 2002 interview with documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, he professed his love for ‘Citizen Kane’, while on the other, in a 1997 New Yorker profile, he proclaimed Jean-Claude Van Damme’s ‘Bloodsport’ “an incredible, fantastic movie.” Trump has also made numerous cameos as himself in films including ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’, ‘Zoolander’ and ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’.
Unlike many past presidents, he has hosted relatively few film screenings at the White House, though, among this year’s slate of best picture nominees, he reportedly did screen — and like — the comic book smash ‘Joker’.