Last night at the Academy Awards, the film Parasite swept the awards for Best Picture, Best International Film, and Best Director for the work of Bong Joon-ho. Parasite, a South Korean thriller using black comedy to explore class tensions, broke records as the first foreign-language film to win the evening’s top award.
In other notable categories, Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor (Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood); Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress (A Marriage Story); Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor (The Joker); and Renee Zellweger won Best Actress (Judy).
After watching last night’s Oscars, I have some lines from the evening still lingering in my mind. In her acceptance speech, Zellweger commented on the woman she represented in her award-winning role:
“This past year of conversations celebrating Judy Garland across generations and cultures has been a really cool reminder that our heroes unite us; that the best among us inspire us to find the best in ourselves.” —Renee Zellweger
I was moved by the story of Judy Garland in Zellweger’s biopic. Her line about seeking to find the best in ourselves is a goal that many of us strive for on a daily basis. But what struck me about Judy is the tragedy of how far out of reach that was for Garland.
Later in the evening, three ladies who each portrayed strong heroines in science fiction/fantasy films presented an award. Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) joked about starting a co-ed Fight Club after the show, and the ladies joked about what the rewards would be for winners and losers.
“The loser gets to answer questions from journalists about how it feels to be a woman in Hollywood.” —Gal Gadot
It was funny—actresses are infamously tired of being asked uninteresting questions from the press on red carpets—but it also made me think. It’s one thing for it to be a boring question; but after following the topic of women in Hollywood for years now, I can’t help but think that questions on these topics are cringeworthy also simply because the topic of women in Hollywood is an uncomfortable reality, the details of which are no fun to disclose.
This week at Verily, we explore the motivators of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements that originated in Hollywood, and the troubling reality of how the mistreatment of actresses like Garland leads to tragic consequences.
Perhaps what made Zellweger excel so well in the role is her personal experience in Hollywood, much critiqued for her looks over the years. Drawing from personal experience is often the most powerful when it comes to art. As Parasite director Bong Joon-ho quoted another director in his Best Director acceptance speech:
"The most personal is the most creative." —Martin Scorcese
While most of us are not playing major roles on the big screen, each of us experiences inhibitors to self-expression that we strive to overcome. Perhaps we encounter this most in our relationships, as we navigate finding companionship with someone who brings out the best in us, rather than obscuring it. On that note, Verily also shares this week on why breaking up is so hard, and how to better get through it.
On this journey of life, we are all trying to navigate how to express ourselves authentically, reach our goals, and maintain complementary relationships. To that end, we can each benefit from prioritizing those things this week that bring us most in touch with ourselves. As always, we hope the content at Verily makes that easier not harder. As Parasite producer Miky Lee told director Bong in accepting Best Picture:
“Thank you for being you.” —Miky Lee