Bong Joon-ho Becomes First Ever Korean Director To Win An Oscar

by : Cameron Frew on :
Parasite Thumbnail 2CJ Entertainment

‘You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all. No plan.’ Bong Joon-ho, the Korean director of Parasite, has just made history. 

Never, in the Academy’s 92 years of ceremonies, has a Korean filmmaker won an Oscar – or even been nominated.


However, tonight the history books will be titled with one name: Bong, who swooped the Best Director prize – both his first Oscar and a landmark win for South Korea.

Bong Joon Ho ParasitePA Images

Parasite has been described by its director as a ‘family tragicomedy’, however its intricacies are owed a much higher credit than a two-word genre distinction.

It follows the Kim family, basement apartment dwellers who just about get by on folding pizza boxes. When an opportunity to infiltrate a rich family’s home presents itself, the Kims go all in – until things take a turn for the bizarre.


‘With that infiltration, there is a lot of fun. It’s bad but it almost feels like you’re committing this crime with them. We all have people – friends and relatives – who are rich and poor around us. So I drew inspiration from my daily life and that’s where it all began,’ Bong said, as per inews.


Bong added, commenting on his characters’ intelligence:

The poor characters in this film are actually quite smart and capable. You think that with those skills and abilities, they would do pretty well if they had a job, but the issue is, they don’t have a job – there is not enough employment for them.

And I think that’s the economic situation that we face in Korea and also across the world. If we had a proper system set up, they would do perfectly fine.

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Bong fought off some immense talent for the Oscar – particularly Sam Mendes, who was widely predicted to take home the prize following a stream of wins at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes for his ‘one-shot’ First World War epic 1917.

Also nominated was Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino (who’s a huge fan and ambassador of Bong’s oeuvre) for his penultimate Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Todd Phillips for Joker.

Parasite 2CJ Entertainment

Bong’s sentiments about foreign cinema are absolutely pivotal. There’s a whole world of movies out there, you just need to push the boat out and take a chance.


When picking up his earlier Golden Globe, he said: ‘Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Academy Awards, Bong Joon-Ho, Film, Oscars, Parasite, South Korea