The South Korean film Parasite made history at the 99nd Academy Awards by becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture.
The film Parasite, a social satire about two families from different economic classes living in Seoul, garnered a historical win by bagging the Oscars for best picture. It also won best director, best international feature film and best original screenplay.
It became the first non-English film and first South Korean film to win best picture in the 92 years of the Academy Awards. Overall, there have only been 11 non-English language films nominated in the category.
The film’s director Bong Joon-ho, who won best director, said: “I feel like I’ll wake up to find it’s all a dream. It all feels very surreal.”
Producer Kwak Sin-ae added: “I’m speechless. We never imagined this to happen. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now.”
Prior to awards night, Nancy Wang Yuen, a sociologist and author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism, said “Parasite” earning best picture could open up opportunities for Asian-American actors, who find it hard to get their work recognized on the awards circuit.
She pointed out: “I think the fact that Asian Americans are rooting for ‘Parasite’ is because we still aren’t even seeing ourselves in main dramatic roles. The more Asians succeed on the international stage, I think Asian Americans do feel like that will then open up more opportunities for Asian-American actors in Hollywood.”
Sandra Oh, who presented on Sunday night, tweeted: “Congratulations @ParasiteMovie So so proud to be Korean.” Meanwhile, Actor Lewis Tan posted: “The game has changed. I’m in tears. This is historic.”
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee from Kim’s Convenience also reacted: “Lookit all those Koreans onstage at the #Oscars. So proud my heart is bursting.”