On Thursday night, Trump took a quick break from attacking Democrats and Fox News during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs to bemoan the movie’s historic best picture win at the Academy Awards this month. Set in modern-day South Korea, “Parasite” is the first foreign-language film to take home the award.
“And the winner is a movie from South Korea, what the hell was that all about?” Trump said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know.”
“Can we get ‘Gone With the Wind’ back, please?” the president continued, fondly remembering the classic Civil War movie that has long weathered criticism for its depiction of African Americans. The film, set on a plantation in Georgia, garnered a slew of Academy Awards in 1940, including best picture.
Trump went on to name-check “Sunset Boulevard,” a 1950 film noir that did not win the best picture Oscar but received awards in other categories.
“So many great movies,” Trump said. “The winner is from South Korea. … Did this ever happen before?”
The reaction was swift as videos from the rally circulated on social media Thursday night.
Neon, the U.S. film production and distribution company backing “Parasite,” hit back at the president on Twitter.
“Understandable, he can’t read,” the company tweeted, referencing the movie’s English subtitles.
The Democratic National Committee had a similar response, tweeting: “Parasite is a foreign movie about how oblivious the ultrarich are about the struggles of the working class, and it requires two hours of reading subtitles. Of course Trump hates it.”
The film — a suspenseful dramedy that chronicles a working-class family’s attempts to con their way into the lives of a rich family — hit theaters nationwide in October and critics went crazy.
“Bong’s finest work to date,” wrote The Washington Post’s Hau Chu in a glowing review, adding, “A viewer can get lulled into luxuriating in the superficial details of the film. But it’s what’s lurking below the surface that will stay with you long after the movie is over.”
The hype continued into awards season as “Parasite” racked up accolade after accolade — achievements many felt were the latest hint of changing times in an industry long criticized for its lack of diversity.
But on Thursday, Trump used the film’s groundbreaking win at the Oscars to slam the awards, which has been a frequent target of his attacks over the years.
“By the way, how bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see?” Trump asked his supporters, who responded with loud boos.
After criticizing “Parasite,” Trump pivoted to complaining about another moment from the Oscars that irked him: Brad Pitt’s acceptance speech for best supporting actor in “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 [former national security adviser] John Bolton this week,” Pitt said, referring to the chief witness not called during Trump’s impeachment trial.
In return, Trump derided Pitt on Thursday, calling the actor “a little wiseguy.”
“I was never a big fan of his,” said Trump.
By early Friday, “Gone With the Wind” and “Sunset Boulevard” were trending on Twitter as critics mocked Trump’s taste in movies.
Several people weren’t surprised that Trump, who has repeatedly come under fire for offensive statements about minorities, would be a fan of “Gone With the Wind.”
“And of course he loves pro-Confederate ‘Gone With the Wind,’” tweeted Max Boot, a columnist for The Post. “Very telling.”
Another detractor wrote that Trump’s complaints were “totally on brand.”
Trump literally just asked, "Can we get like 'Gone With The Wind' back please?" That's really saying the quiet part out loud isn't it.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) February 21, 2020
The president’s apparent fondness for “Gone With the Wind” led to speculation about other movies he might enjoy, with some suggesting that “The Birth of a Nation” would make the list. The 1915 movie, which also started trending on Twitter on Thursday night, has been described as “the most reprehensibly racist film in Hollywood history.”
The recently impeached US President threw a tantrum about a foreign language movie winning an Oscar,— Peter W. Singer (@peterwsinger) February 21, 2020
which led the Internet to speculate about his favorite movie, which sent the 1915 racist movie Birth of a Nation trending during Black History Month
Have fun, future historians
At least one person wondered how South Koreans would react to Trump’s opinions on the foreign movie, which has become “a recent source of national pride.”
Bong has not publicly responded to Trump. But in an interview Thursday with the Hollywood Reporter ahead of the president’s rally, Tom Quinn, co-founder of Neon, addressed questions about whether the foreign film deserved the best picture award.
“I don’t know,” Quinn said. “That sounds a lot like a Trump tweet. So it doesn’t make any sense.”