From the moment we heard that Parasite was nominated we were both elated and preemptively disappointed. We were all pretty sure it would get Best Foreign Film but we had little hope for anything else. After all, foreign films have never gotten a “Best Picture” Oscar before, until this year. 2020 Oscars became the most extraordinary event in movie history. Parasite, a South Korean film about class warfare, literally made history at this year’s Academy Awards winning not only the Best Foreign Film award but also sweeping three more Oscars for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay – all of them very much deserved. This is the first time in the history of the Academy Awards that a foreign language film received such praise in the highest categories.
Earlier at BAFTAs, the director Bong Joon-ho said: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Many took that as a stab at the Oscars and the general prejudice that foreign-language films face in the world dominated by English language movies. Bong never expected such a success for Parasite.
When accepting the Oscar for Best Director, Bong Joon-ho said :
“After winning Best International Feature I knew I was done for the day and was ready to relax. Thank you so much when I was young and studying cinema there was this thing that I carved deep into my heart which is ‘the most personal is the most creative’ – that’s a quote from Martin Scorsese”. Bong Joon-ho said that getting nominated was the biggest honour he never thought he would actually win. He also thanked Quentin Tarantino for always putting Bong’s movies on his list, even when American audiences didn’t know about him. He thanked everyone and said he will drink until the next morning in celebration.
When Parasite won the Best Picture Bong let the movie’s producers Kwak Sin-ae and Miky Lee take the mic. Kwak said she was speechless and that she felt like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now. She expressed her deepest respect and gratitude to all the members of the Academy for making this decision.
The acceptance speech ran a bit too long and the mics got cut off and the lights turned off but everyone in the audience started changing to let them finish their speech.
Later when Bong Joon-ho he got off stage and was interviewed he was asked how did he feel about making history he said “Yeah it’s history but I never intended it. We just made a movie, as always. It just happened.” The interviewer went on to add: “You just made a movie but it became a movement”. To which Bong responded with “Oh you think so? Really? Thank you. The world won’t change overnight because of this but I hope this provides a small spark.”
You could tell that the whole team behind the movie Parasite never expected this, but they were all incredibly proud and happy. What does this win tell us? Well, that hopefully the world is changing and we can expect more great things from the Oscars in the future.