Bong Joon Ho’s masterfully devious class satire comedy snatched Hollywood’s pivotal prizes at the Oscars on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
By Anna Kim
Going into the 92nd annual Academy Awards, the South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho was up for Best Director, Original Screenplay, International Feature, and Best Picture—all of which he took home. He topped a prestigious nominees’ list that included Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Phillips, and Sam Mendes. In a year dominated by period epics—“1917,” “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood,” and “the Irishman”—The Academy Awards ended up giving credit where it’s due—to“Parasite.”
Pulling off surprise wins in succession, “Parasite” has become a watershed for the Academy Awards, which has long been content to relegate international films to their own category. The Academy Awards finally gave its greatest prize of Best Picture to a non-English-language film, not having done so in almost 100 years. Each win, especially for Best Director and Best Picture, is a perfectly tense Oscar moment that had viewers literally balanced at the edge of their couches, ready to scream. True to its name, “Parasite” got under the skin of the viewers and attached to unprecedented history as the film swept all of the major categories.
Dominating at his first-ever Oscars ceremony, Bong also overwhelmed the crowd with his forthright speech. When he was crowned with the first trophy, he joked on stage, saying, “I am ready to drink tonight,” which prompted roars from the audience. On the second stage, he developed, “I will drink until the next morning,” which sounded like a sequel of his prior speech.
Called up for Best Director, Bong paid tribute to his fellow nominees on stage, especially Martin Scorsese during his classy Oscar acceptance speech.
“When I was studying cinema early in life, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart. It is that “The most personal is the most creative.” That quote is from our great Martin Scorsese. When I was in school, I explored his films. It is a huge honor just to be nominated with him. I never thought I would win,” said Bong.
The newly crowned Best Director also made a shout out to Tarantino for his past support, saying, “When people in the US are not familiar with my films, Quentin Tarantino always included my films on the lists of his favorites, something that was clearly appreciated.” Bong then added that Phillips and Mendes are “great directors I admire.”
His genuine and heartfelt speech made the viewers all the more electrified.
“By the last advert break, Parasite was no longer the underdog. It would have been a grave disappointment if it hadn’t won salient trophies, especially Best Picture,” said a movie fan online.
“Parasite” has been the darling of critics and audiences since it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival back in May 2019—also the first South Korean film ever to do so. The film has already grossed $33 million in the United States. The film’s box-office total exceeds $165 million around the world. As the movie is still in theaters, the Bong Joon Ho syndrome seems to go on for the time being.