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"Parasite" Just Made Oscars History, Becoming The First Foreign-Language Film To Win Best Picture

The South Korean black comedy has been a huge word of mouth hit. Now, it has scored Hollywood’s top prize.

Posted on February 9, 2020, at 11:32 p.m. ET

Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment

The South Korean film Parasite earned the top prize at Sunday’s Academy Awards in Hollywood, making Oscar history by becoming the first ever foreign-language film to win Best Picture.

The film also took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

“I'm ready to drink tonight,” joked director Bong Joon-ho during one of his acceptance speeches.

The black comedy Parasite tells the story of the poor Kim family, who scheme their way into service jobs with the wealthier Park family, only to make several shocking discoveries about the Park’s modernist mansion.

A blood-soaked satire of class tensions and climate change, the movie has proved a hit around the world, taking in more than $100 million worldwide. “The story is very universal,” Bong told Variety in a recent interview. “It’s a story about rich and poor. But maybe there is something more.”

Sunday’s win caps off a remarkable year for Parasite. In 2019, it became the first South Korean movie to win the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It also won the top Screen Actors Guild Award for best cast in a motion picture.

In addition to being the first Korean film to ever earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Parasite is only the sixth film ever to be nominated in both that category and Best International Feature Film. Just last year, the Netflix film Roma also achieved this feat but failed to take home the night’s top prize.

Bong himself also made history earlier on Sunday night, becoming the first Korean to take home the Best Director trophy.

“Just to be nominated was a huge honor,” he told the audience. “I never thought I would win.”

“I will drink until next morning,” he joked.

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Before his win on Sunday, Bong told Variety he hoped his nominations would draw Westerners’ attention to cinema in his home country.

“Korean cinema has a long history. There are many masters that have yet to be introduced to the Western audience,” he said. “It would be great if people take more interest in Korean cinema due to my nomination.”

Last month, Bong announced that he and director Adam McKay would adapt Parasite for HBO as a six-hour limited series. The director told the Wrap that the extended runtime will allow him to tell “hidden stories” he was not able to depict on the big screen due to the film’s two-hour runtime. It’s not clear yet whether the new project will be in English or Korean.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.