For the first time in Academy Awards history, a foreign language film took home the Oscar for Best Picture, beating out Joker, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Marriage Story, Little Women, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Jojo Rabbit. In addition to claiming the highest honor of the evening, Parasite took home a total of four of the six prizes for which the movie was nominated Sunday night (February 9) Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director, made historical as Bong Joon-ho became the first Korean to win the trophy.
“I’m speechless. We never imagined this to ever happen, we are so happy,” said producer Kwak Sin Ae in Korean while accepting the Best Picture award with help from a translator. “I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now.”
Equally at a loss for words by taking the top prize, Bong joked, “I’m ready to drink tonight.”
The South Korean thriller touches on how class and greed divides two families — one rich, the other poor — and the shocking extremes to which a destitute family goes to infiltrate a wealthy household. To his surprise, Bong has admitted in previous interviews he would not have anticipated fans — known as the “BongHive” — to campaign for the film as hard as they have.
He iterated this feeling in his Best Director speech. “Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I would win,” he said of the victory, quipping, “I will drink until next morning.”
Before the night’s festivities, Bong revealed what he hopes the attention Parasite has received will open doors for Korean cinema, adding the genre “has a long history. There are many masters that have yet to be introduced to the Western audience. It would be great if people take more interest in Korean cinema due to my nomination.”
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