If you haven’t heard of Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean film Parasite yet, it’s possible you’ve been living under a rock—or in a secret underground bunker. Audiences and critics alike have been singing its praises since it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last May, and the Academy recognized its brilliance in January by nominating it for several of the most prestigious awards, including Best International Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture.
At the 92nd Oscars ceremony last night in Los Angeles, the expertly crafted thriller proved itself as this awards season’s most beloved ‘little engine that could’ by winning in all of its top categories, delighting viewers everywhere and making history in more ways than one.
When Bong and co-writer Han Jin Won clinched the “Best Original Screenplay” award early in the ceremony, Parasite not only became the first Asian film to win a screenplay Oscar, it also became the first South Korean film to win any Oscar at all. As the night continued, Bong and his cohorts ascended to the stage a total of four times, racking up “firsts” even more quickly than they were collecting awards.
With films from seminal directors Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood) among the competition and a ballot conspicuously light on nominations for both women and people of color, many felt this year’s odds were especially stacked against an international film from an Oscars newcomer. That underdog atmosphere, coupled with Bong’s many endearing speeches—which included a few mentions of his after-party plans and a standing ovation for Scorsese—made Parasite’s multiple victories seem even more momentous.
Find out all the ways Parasite and Bong Joon Ho made Oscars history below.
- First South Korean film to win any Oscar
- First South Korean film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar
- First South Korean film to win a Best Picture Oscar
- First Asian film to win a Best Picture Oscar
- First foreign-language film to win a Best Picture Oscar
- First South Korean film to be nominated for a Best International Film Oscar (formerly Best Foreign Language Film)
- First South Korean film to win a Best International Film Oscar
- First South Korean film to win a Best Screenplay Oscar
- First Asian film to win a Best Screenplay Oscar
- (Bong Joon Ho) First South Korean filmmaker to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar
- (Bong Joon Ho) First South Korean filmmaker to win a Best Director Oscar