Parasite has made history by winning the Best International Feature Film Oscar along with the best picture of the year (Bong Joon Ho, you legend).
So, here is a list of other international films that your ‘revered’ author believes should’ve also won the Oscar for best picture, but were only ‘good enough’ to win a Best International Feature Oscar. In this article, ratings from Rotten Tomatoes have been used to support the author’s narrative which means, everything is highly subjective (Yes, I know it’s not the best indicator, But hopefully you, dear reader, will kind of agree).
1. Roma, 2018 (Mexico)
In 2018, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, a semi-autobiographical film about the relationship between a domestic worker and her employers in 1970s Mexico swept away almost all major awards at Award functions. It was expected to be the first film to win in both categories (which Parasite has just achieved) as it was nominated for both.
However, it ended up winning the Best Foreign Feature film that year but lost out to Shape Of Water for Best Picture, in a decision that I think a few years down the line, the academy will look back at and regret, unless it doesn’t already.
Roma Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 96%
Shape Of Water Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 92%
2. A Separation, 2012 (Iran)
In 2012, in the run up to the Oscars, everyone was talking about how a wonderful Iranian film A Separation, made by Asghar Farhadi, was not only the best foreign film that year but also the best film of the year, overall.
A Separation is a film about a couple that’s on the verge of divorce and the decisions each of the characters make and its consequences on the entire family, that includes an ailing father, the couple’s daughter and the domestic help. Even though the film is about a family, the way the film plays out is akin to a thriller. However, it was the black and white and silent film, The Artist that took the coveted Oscar for Best Film home. I’m sure cinephiles and fans of Asghar Farhadi (putting my hand up) feel he and his film were hard done by, even though it was the first Iranian film to ever win an Oscar in the International category.
A Separation Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 99%
The Artist Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 95%
3. Amores Perros, 2000 (Mexico)
Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu, became an Oscar winner and a household name thanks to Birdman, a film that won him the best picture Oscar in 2015 and making a film (The Revenant) that finally won Leonardo Di Caprio a much awaited Oscar.
However 15 years before that, his first ever film, Amores Perros, won an Oscar for best Foreign Language film. Amores Perros is a film that deals with different lives that collide in a car crash in Mexico and we find out about the characters through the film and how they are all interconnected with a unique narrative style. However, in 2001 it wasn’t nominated for Best Film and American Beauty took home the Oscar instead. Looking back now though, it feels like Innaritu deserved that best picture Oscar 15 years before he actually got it.
Amores Perros Rotten Tomatoes Rating- 92%
American Beauty Rotten Tomatoes Rating- 72%
4. Life Is Beautiful, 1998 (Italy)
Life Is Beautiful is often said to be one of the most touching films ever made (I cried like a baby at the end of it). It tells the story of a family during the time of the holocaust and how it affects their lives when the father and the son are taken to a concentration camp.
Back in 1999, Roberto Benigni won an Oscar for his lead performance in the film. The film also won the best foreign language film that year, however, even though it was nominated for Best Picture, it lost to Shakespeare In Love which is widely believed to be one of the most underwhelming Oscar winners in history. If the films were released in 2020, however, I believe the results would’ve been different. Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t agree with me for this one though.
Life Is Beautiful Rotten Tomatoes Rating- 80%
American Beauty Rotten Tomatoes Rating- 87%
5. The Lives Of Others, 2006 (Germany)
Okay. This mention might get me a lot of hate but here it goes. In 2007, The Departed picked up best picture and finally got the Oscar to one of the most acclaimed and timeless filmmakers of our time, Martin Scorcese for best Director.
However, The Lives Of Others is a film that was released that year and won the best Foreign film. The Lives Of Others is a film set in 1984 in East Berlin where an agent of the secret police is responsible for the surveillance of a writer and his lover and slowly gets entangled into their private life. I feel it should’ve won best picture instead of The Departed simply because the DiCaprio starrer was an adaptation, based on a brilliant Japanese film called Infernal Affairs whereas The Lives Of Others was an original, thought provoking and a film that scars your mind.
Even though it won an Oscar for best International Feature it could have won the best Picture Oscar that year (Scorcese still deserves that best Director Oscar though, and many more to be honest).