'Parasite' Makes Oscars History With 4 Major Wins, Including Best Picture
By Meredith B. Kile
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The 2020 awards season darling, Parasite, made Oscars history on Sunday, with major wins and surprising upsets for director Bong Joon-ho's dark comedy-thriller -- which ultimately won four of its six nominations.
Parasite's most expected statuettes came first, with director Bong's seventh career feature earning his first-ever Oscars, with the trophies for Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. The film continued its history-making run -- which began at the Cannes Film Festival last year, when it became the first South Korean film to win the coveted Palme d'Or -- by becoming the first Korean film to win the newly renamed International Feature category.
Director Bong's next win, for Best Director, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, as he beat out Directors Guild Award winner Sam Mendes for the prize. (The DGA is usually a spot-on predictor of the Academy in the category; the last time a director took home the Oscar without winning the DGA Award was Rob Marshall in 2003.)
"After winning Best International Feature, I thought I was done for the day, and I was ready to relax," he joked with the crowd, via translator Sharon Choi, before giving touching shout-outs to one of his idols, Martin Scorsese, early supporter Quentin Tarantino and his other fellow nominees, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips.
Then, came the biggest surprise of the night. Parasite beat out the rest of the competition to take home Best Picture, beating out Golden Globes winner 1917 to become the first-ever non-English-language film to win the Oscars' ultimate prize. The film's four wins also propelled director Bong to an auspicious tie with non other than Walt Disney himself, becoming only the second person to ever win for Oscars in one night. (Though the Academy Award for Best International Feature is technically awarded to the country, beginning in 2014, the director's name was also engraved on the statuette.)
Producer Kwak Sin-ae took the reins from director Bong for the Best Picture acceptance speech, telling the crowd, "We never imagined this to ever happen. We are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now. I express my deepest gratitude and respect to all the members of the Academy for making this decision."
ET spoke with director Bong on the red carpet ahead of the Oscars, where he reflected on already making history -- Parasite was the first-ever Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture -- and possibly doing so several more times over during the Academy Awards.
"It's the first time a Korean film has been nominated, but it's also cinema's strength to communicate with a universal audience, so in some ways, it feels very inevitable," he said.
See more from the interview, and more on Parasite's historic awards season run, in the video below.