Movie history was made in Hollywood and Seoul tonight! Bong Joon Ho's South Korean film Parasite took home the last statue of the evening at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, becoming the first film not in English to win Best Picture. The victory capped off a night where Sam Mendes' technically dazzling war epic 1917 had a very strong chance of winning the grand prize, and many expected it would. But Parasite was just plain unbeatable at this year's Oscars, also picking up wins for Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Original Screenplay.
Parasite won four of the six awards for which it was nominated, the largest haul of the night. It's the first South Korean film to win an Oscar, and the first winner of the International Feature Film award, which was known as Best Foreign Language Film until this year.
"We never imagined this to ever happen. We're so happy," producer Kwak Sin-ae said through an interpreter in her acceptance speech on behalf of the movie. "I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now. I express my deepest gratitude and respect for all the members of the Academy for making this decision."
At the end of her short speech, the stage at the Dolby Theater went dark, signaling the end of the show, but then the audience in the auditorium shouted until the lights came back up for Miky Lee, Korean film mogul and vice chair of the conglomerate CJ Group, which funded Parasite.
"I really like to thank Director Bong," Lee said. "Thank you for being you. And I like everything about him. His smile, his crazy hair. The way he talks. The way he walks. Especially the way he directs. But what I really like about him is his sense of humor. And the fact is he can be really making fun of himself, and he never takes himself seriously. Thank you. Thank you very much."
"And I'd like to thank everybody who's been supporting Parasite, and been working with Parasite, and who's been loving Parasite," she said. "And I'd like to thank my brother, who's been always supporting our building our dreams, even when it looked impossible dream. Thank you, Jay. I want to thank my brother Jay and especially, I really really really want to thank our Korean film audience, our moviegoers who's been really supporting all our movies, and never hesitated to give us straightforward opinion on what they feel like their movies. And that leaves us really never to be able to be complacent, and to keep pushing. The directors, the creators, to keep pushing the envelopes. And without you, our Korean film audience, we are not here. Thank you very much."
Parasite tells the story of a poor family in Seoul that gradually insinuates itself into the home and lives of a rich family. The rich family is clueless and elitist, while the poor family has no class solidarity. These flaws all come together in a way that has disastrous, blackly comic results. It stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam and is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.
1917 ended up winning just three of the 10 awards for which it was nominated: Best Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Sound Mixing.