South Korea, home to some of the most distinctive cinema of the past two decades, is finally basking in Oscars glory.
The 92nd Oscars came with lots of surprises as many records and boundaries were broken and set. Parasite which has big but usual ratings surprised everyone. The film also won Oscars for best director, best screenplay and best international feature, adding to its successes at the Cannes Film Festival last year and the Baftas earlier this month.
But it was the moment that Parasite was awarded Best Picture – a first for any non-English language film in the Oscars’ 92-year-history – that sparked outpourings of joy in Bong’s native country.
Some TV networks broke into their regular programming to bring news of the award, which many pundits had predicted would go to 1917. During a live broadcast of the ceremony on South Korean TV, the presenter had to apologise to viewers for screaming at the moment Parasite was named best picture.
Bong Joon Ho’s acclaimed thriller Parasite winning big early in the Academy Awards ceremony marked the first time a South Korean film had won an Oscar in any category.
Parasite was widely expected to break some barriers at the Oscars, but not even the most seasoned awards analysts anticipated the full windfall that was coming to Bong and his genre-bending film. Sam Mendes’ technically ambitious single-shot World War I epic 1917 was considered the frontrunner, after it bagged top prizes at the Golden Globes and Producers Guild and Directors Guild awards. But it was Parasite that would go on to dominate the 92nd Academy Awards, winning for best picture, director and international feature film as well.
Parasite is the first-ever non-English-language film to win best picture honours. Bong’s triumph capped off awards season with a powerful moment of inclusion despite the year being otherwise dogged by controversy over the lack of diversity — again — among nominees (18 of the 20 Oscar-nominated actors were white, while no female directors were nominated).
Also Eminem surprise performance.
The video roundup wrapped with a bit of Eminem’s Oscar-winning Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile, after which Marshall Mathers himself took the Dolby Theatre stage for a surprise appearance to perform that smash 2002 hit — which nabbed the 2003 Academy Award for best original song, becoming the first hip-hop song to do so — for the first time on the Oscars stage.
The night also saw a first acting award for Brad Pitt for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. Pitt previously won as a producer of 12 Years a Slave, but this is his first acting win.
The award for best adapted screenplay went to New Zealander Taika Waititi for the Nazi-era comedy Jojo Rabbit.
Laura Dern picked up the award for supporting actress for her role in Netflix’s Marriage Story.