South Korean film makes Oscar history

For the first time, a non-English-language film earned top prize at the Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Parasite, a South Korean movie directed by Bong Joon-ho, won the Best Picture Award on February 9 at the 2020 Academy Awards.

The film, a dark comedy about social inequality, also won the awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. An Academy Award is considered the highest achievement in the U.S. film industry.

This is “the first time a Korean film has been nominated for the Oscars, so to just win one award would have been a huge celebration,” Kwak Sin-ae, Bong’s co-producer on the film, said through a translator after the awards presentation. This “signal[s] the beginning of a different kind of change for international cinema — not just for Korea.”

The Academy Awards are presented every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They also are known as the Oscars.

The statuette is said to have earned its nickname from an Academy librarian, Margaret Herrick, who remarked that the sculpted figure looked a lot like her uncle Oscar.