In a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday night. Having been confined to an own category since the introduction of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956, no non-English-language film had won the top prize in the award’s 92-year history.
Bong Joon Ho’s class satire not only beat strong competition in the Best Picture category but was also awarded for Best Directing, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film, making the South Korean drama the biggest winner of the night. Having earned $165 million at the global box office so far, Parasite has been quite successful in commercial terms, especially for a non-English-language film, but it is still worlds apart from the breathtaking numbers “traditional” blockbuster movies routinely pull these days.
As our chart illustrates, most Best Picture winners in recent years didn’t make nearly as much money as the respective year’s biggest box office hit, illustrating that commercial success and critical acclaim often don’t go hand in hand. The last true blockbuster to win the Best Picture award was the third and final part of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which raked in $1.1 billion at the box office worldwide and was crowned Best Picture in 2004.
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