UPDATED with video: After making history earlier this evening as the first South Korean movie ever to win an Oscar with its Original Screenplay triumph, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite has scooped the Best International Feature Film Academy Award. The prize, in what was previously known as the Foreign Language Oscar category, comes as no surprise given the trajectory Bong and Parasite have been on since taking the Palme d’Or in Cannes last May (also a first for a Korean pic).
Black comedy thriller Parasite and its director have been major darlings for awards bodies, guilds and festivals over the past several months. Upon the International Feature Oscar win tonight, Bong received a standing ovation. He has also helped raise the profile of a robust Korean industry that boasts talented filmmakers and astute audiences. In Korea, where it’s currently about midday on Monday, Parasite is trending atop Twitter.
From the Dolby stage tonight, Bong noted the category’s name change and said he was “so happy to be its first recipient under the new name. I applaud and suport the new direction that this change symbolizes.”
He also thanked his “loving crew and cast members” who were all present in the audience and encouraged a round of applause. A further shoutout went to Korea’s CJ and to domestic distributor Neon who “allowed me to actualize my vision.” Then, to great enthusiasm, he tossed in, “I’m bloody ready to drink tonight, until the next morning.”
This was Parasite’s second win of the night. It had six nominations coming in overall and is still up for Best Director and Best Picture.
Neon released Parasite domestically with the current gross at $35.5M. Worldwide, Parasite has taken $165.4M. At home in Korea, it was the No. 5 movie of 2019 in a field dominated by Disney pics.
Bong’s win knocked out the other competitors in this field: Pedro Almodovar’s Pain And Glory (Spain), Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables (France), Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s Honeyland (North Macedonia) and Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi (Poland).
In a nice touch, Penelope Cruz presented the International Feature award, emphasizing the importance of films from around the world. “No matter where we are from, we all ask ourselves the same questions. Sometimes it could be hidden in a film that represents our global language of cinema.”
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