A dozen foreign language films have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, including Babel and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but only one has won: Parasite, earlier this year (even if it feels like nine years ago). It was the second consecutive year that a non-English-language movie was nominated for the Academy’s biggest prize after Roma, and according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, Parasite wouldn’t have won without Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white stunner paving the way.
“I think Roma had a lot to do with that for Parasite this year. I think the idea that a foreign-language film had 10 Oscar nominations and won three, and the crossover awards categories for foreign-language film, I think really opened the door for Parasite to be as successful as it was,” Sarandos told Variety. He also believes that Netflix’s Okja, from Parasite director-writer Bong Joon-ho, made people “more receptive” to Korean films:
In this year’s second quarter, the share of non-English content viewing rose 33% in the U.S. from the previous year, per Netflix, a metric that controls for factors such as subscriber growth and higher viewing during the pandemic.
Sarandos is making a big claim here, that Netflix played a key role in raising the profile of foreign-language films (looking forward to Criterion’s response!). But I think we can all agree on one thing: Polish erotic thriller 365 Days is going to win Best Picture next year.