Oscars 2020: Bong Joon-Ho first South Korean to win Best Director; Parasite gets Best International Feature Film

In a first for South Korea, master-director Bong Joon Ho earned the Academy Award for the best director and best original screenplay for his genre-defying Parasite, while filmmaker Taika Waititi bagged the Oscar in the adapted screenplay category for the film Jojo Rabbit.

FP Staff February 10, 2020 09:43:55 IST
Oscars 2020: Bong Joon-Ho first South Korean to win Best Director; Parasite gets Best International Feature Film

In a first for South Korea, master-director Bong Joon Ho earned the Academy Award for the best director and best original screenplay for his genre-defying Parasite, while filmmaker Taika Waititi bagged the Oscar in the adapted screenplay category for the film Jojo Rabbit.

Accepting the award he said, "When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep in my heart which is, 'The most personal is the most creative.' That comes to us from our great Martin Scorsese."

A visibly happy Bong went up on the stage and initially managed to say "Thank you, great honour," as the audience cheered and clapped on.

The 50-year-old director, who has been the toast of this awards season surpassing the hurdle of subtitles that come along a non-English film, said writing scripts was a "lonely" process.

"Writing scripts is always such a lonely process. We never write to represent our countries. This is the very first Oscar to South Korea. I thank my wife for always being an inspiration, thank all the actors who are here with me today for bringing this film to life," Bong said in his acceptance speech, through his translator Sharon Choi.

As co-writer Han Jin-won thanked his parents for their support and storytellers at Chumro, Bong couldn't help staring lovingly at the Oscar trophy and smiling.

Parasite, a pitch-black comedy about haves and have-nots in modern Seoul, also won the Oscar for Best International Film at the Academy Awards.

The thriller, showing how struggling scammers insinuate their way into the life of a rich family, with dire consequences, was considered the front runner going into Sunday’s ceremony after winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year, as well as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards last month.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year changed the name of the category to 'International Feature Film' from 'Foreign Language Film' to reflect a more positive and inclusive approach to movies made outside Hollywood.

Parasite beat out Poland’s Corpus Christi, Les Miserables from France, Spain’s Pain and Glory, and Honeyland from North Macedonia.

For adapted screenplay too, the Academy recognised the New Zealand-based director Waititi of the satirical anti-war film Jojo Rabbit. Waititi became the first indigenous person to ever win the Oscar for best-adapted screenplay.

An overwhelmed Waititi thanked his mother for introducing him to Christine Leunens's book Caging Skies, that served as the basis for Jojo Rabbit.

"Amazing, thank you. I like to thank my mother for being my mother and for giving me the book that I adapted. This wouldn't have existed without you doing that. Thank you to the producers of the film... There are many people I want to thank but won't because I can't remember them.

"This is really great and I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well," the 44-year-old filmmaker said.

Both Parasite and Jojo Rabbit had also won the BAFTA award for best-adapted screenplay.

(With inputs from agencies)

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