‘Parasite’ Becomes First South Korean Movie to Win Best International Film Oscar

Klaritza Rico and Maane Khatchatourian

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Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” won the best international film prize at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night, making history as the first South Korean film to do so.

The thriller was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, and was already the first South Korean feature to be nominated for best international film. “Parasite” made history earlier in the night when it won the best original screenplay Oscar — becoming not only the first South Korean film to win an Oscar, but marking a relatively rare win for a foreign-language screenplay. Bong Joon Ho wrote the script with Jin Won Han.

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“I’m so happy to be its first recipient under the new name,” Bong said about the renamed category, previously titled best foreign-language film. “I applaud and support the new direction that this change symbolizes. All our loving crew members and cast members are here with us. Please send a round of applause to the actors and crew members of ‘ Parasite.'”

“I also thank everyone who allowed me to actualize my vision,” he continued. “Yeah, I’m ready to drink tonight … until next morning.”

“Parasite” follows a poor Korean family, the Kims, as they infiltrate the home of the wealthy Park family.

“Parasite” originally made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it won the Palme d’Or, becoming the first South Korean movie to take that prize. It was only the beginning of a sterling awards season for Bong’s latest, going on to win the first Golden Globe for a South Korean film in the best foreign-language category. It also became the first foreign-language film to win a Screen Actors Guild Award for best performance by a cast in a motion picture.

“Parasite” was 2019’s highest-grossing foreign-language film, breaking records with a $393,000 opening weekend at three theaters. It could continue to make history later in the evening: Bong is also nominated for best director, the first Korean filmmaker to ever receive that nod, and should it win best picture, it will be the first foreign-language movie to win the Oscars’ biggest prize.

The other nominees in the international film category were “Les Miserables,” “Corpus Christi,” “Honeyland” and “Pain and Glory.”

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