In all 92 years of Oscars existence, a non-English speaking film has never won Best Picture. That is, until Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. The film made history this past weekend, winning Best Director, Best International Film, and Best Original Screenplay, as well as six nominations.
The South Korean film is the first film to win under the title of Best International Film, as this year, the Academy permanently changed the category title of Best Foreign Film to Best International Film. While it may seem minor, this is actually a huge step in the right direction of inclusivity. Hopefully this will help more films outside the US be recognized and praised within our culture.
Bong won over fellow nominees, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Sam Mendes for 1917, Todd Phillips for Joker, and Martin Scorsese for The Irishman.
“After winning best international feature, I thought I was done for the day and was ready to relax,” Bong said in his acceptance speech for Best Picture. “Thank you so much. When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart, which is that, ‘The most personal is the most creative.’ That quote is from “our great Martin Scorsese.” The crowd applauded and Scorsese stood up and waved.
Bong added, “When I was in school, I studied Martin Scorsese’s films. Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I would win. When people in the U.S. were not familiar with my films, Quentin always put my films on his list. He’s here, thank you so much. Quentin, I love you.”
Although this year’s Oscars were criticized for lack of diversity, Parasite represents a huge stride towards inclusivity in film. As Bong stated at the Golden Globes, “Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”