What an amazing night for Parasite at the Oscars! Best Picture! Best Director! I was expecting Best International Film and thought they had a good shot at the Screenwriting award, but the other two are a major shock. 1917 was winning everything coming into this day. They won both the Director's Guild and Producer's Guild awards, which are usually the strongest indicators of how the Oscars will go.
But I couldn't get over the feeling that Hollywood really loved Parasite. If Parasite had been in English, NO DOUBT it would have been the overwhelming favorite, but for the Academy to vote for a film not in English was going to be an enormous hurdle to overcome. Never happened before in 92 years.
For me the absolute highlight was the Best Director award. You couldn't have scripted it better. Spike Lee handed it out: Bong has talked about how Lee was an influence when he was still in University.
Bong beat two of the most important American directors of the past 30 years, Scorsese and Tarantino. Then he gets up and through interpreter Sharon talks about a quote that meant a lot to him as he started his career:
'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.' "
Then he stepped up to the mike and delivered the kicker in English:
'That quote was from the great director Martin Scorsese'. He gestured towards Scorsese, who looked absolutely overcome with emotion. Standing ovation.
He wasn't done. "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."
Even grumpy old Tarantino looked happy. Gotta give Tarantino his due, Bong was correct. Tarantino has done a lot to champion Asian films in this country, especially those of Hong Kong master Wong Kar Wai and Koreans Bong and Park Chan Wook.
If it had ended there, it would have been an amazing night. But a few minutes later, the film won Best Picture, and history was made.
The show producers tried to cut the speech short, but the entire front row shouted for them to turn the lights back up: Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie among them.
The short lady who spoke next is the chairwoman of CJ Entertainment. Fun fact: she was also one of the biggest investors in DreamWorks back when they first founded it, so Hollywood was well aware of the Koreans long before this.
Another fun fact: Parasite is the first movie to win the Palm D'or and Oscar for Best Picture since Marty in 1955.
Bong Joon Ho gets a hero's welcome at Incheon airport earlier today. During his speech he does a PSA on the importance of washing your hands. Then he heads outside and puts on a facemask incorrectly (not covering his nose).