Parasite becomes first foreign language film to win best picture Oscar

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  • Korean writer-director pulls off a double shock, winning best picture – the first time a foreign-language film has won – and best director Oscars for Parasite
  • His film earlier became the first Korean film to win the best international feature prize, formerly best foreign film, and won best original screenplay
Bong Joon-ho reacts as he is presented with the Oscar for best picture for Parasite by actress Jane Fonda at the Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Looking on from left is the film’s star Song Kang-ho. Photo: AP
Bong Joon-ho reacts as he is presented with the Oscar for best picture for Parasite by actress Jane Fonda at the Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Looking on from left is the film’s star Song Kang-ho. Photo: AP

South Korean satire Parasite made Oscars history in Los Angeles on Sunday, beating strong competition to win the coveted best picture Academy Award and completing a stunning night for its director 

Bong Joon-ho. It was the first foreign-language film to win in the Oscars’ best picture category.

“I’m speechless,” said the film’s producer Kwak Sin-ae when the Parasite cast and crew members took the stage to receive the award.

“We’ve never imagined that this would ever happen,” Kwak said through an interpreter. “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.”

Bong earlier pulled off a surprise win, snatching the best directing prize for his darkly comic class satire, to go with Oscars for best international feature and best original screenplay, at the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Bong topped a prestigious nominees’ list that included Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Phillips and Sam Mendes.

“Thank you,” the director said with a chuckle after receiving the award on stage from the hands of Spike Lee. “After winning best international feature, I thought I was done for today and was ready to relax. Thank you so much.”

Bong’s film also won the original screenplay honour early in the evening, becoming the first Asian film to claim this Oscar.

Overall, Parasite claimed four Oscars from the six categories it was nominated in. It lost out to Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood in the production design category, and to Ford v Ferrari for the film editing prize.

Sam Mendes’s war drama 1917, widely considered a favourite in the best picture race after its wins at the Golden Globes and Baftas, took three Oscars: for cinematography, visual effects, and sound mixing.

As for the four acting winners, Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for Joker, Renée Zellweger won best actress for Judy, Laura Dern was named best supporting actress for Marriage Story, and Brad Pitt won best supporting actor for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

The full list of winners

  • Best pictureParasite
  • Actor in a leading role: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Actress in a leading role: Renée Zellweger (Judy)
  • Actor in a supporting role: Brad Pitt (Once upon a Time… in Hollywood)
  • Actress in a supporting role: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Animated feature filmToy Story 4
  • Cinematography1917
  • Costume designLittle Women
  • Directing: Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)
  • Documentary (feature)American Factory
  • Documentary (short)Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
  • Film editing: Ford v Ferrari
  • International feature filmParasite
  • Make-up and hair stylingBombshell
  • Music (original score)Joker
  • Music (original song)(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman
  • Production designOnce upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Short film (animated)Hair Love
  • Short film (live-action)The Neighbors’ Window
  • Sound editingFord v Ferrari
  • Sound mixing1917
  • Visual effects1917
  • Writing (adapted screenplay)Jojo Rabbit
  • Writing (original screenplay)Parasite

Source: South China Morning Post