South Korean thriller wins Best International Feature Film at the Oscars.

By Joey Nolfi
February 09, 2020 at 10:46 PM EST
  • Movie

Parasite has latched on to the Academy’s affections.

Bong Joon Ho‘s masterclass thriller took the Oscar for Best International Feature Film Sunday night, securing one of the most prestigious accolades of the South Korean film’s breakout awards season run thus far. And, after a long awards haul, the filmmaker admitted he was “ready to drink” in celebration as he accepted the award.

“The category has a new name now, from Best Foreign Language Film to Best International Film. I’m so happy to be its first recipient under the new name,” he said through an interpreter. “I applaud and support the new direction that this change symbolizes.”

Though Bong accepted the Oscar on the film’s behalf, the award itself goes to the submitting country; in this case, Parasite‘s win marks the first time South Korea has won in the category.

Following a working-class family that infiltrate the lives (and home) of another, wealthier family under the guise of providing luxury services, Parasite earned rave reviews out of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or over fellow Oscar nominees Pain and Glory and Les Miserables before reaping multiple accolades on the awards season circuit — including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director as well as a SAG award for its ensemble cast.

“This film expresses chaos in a very organized manner,” Bong previously told EW of the film. “The creator can’t be the one in chaos. I have to very meticulously deliver this chaos for the audience, and I feel a lot of excitement from that process… I hope the audience feels a lot of excitement from that particular cinematic moment. So I have a meticulous storyboard, but I always have my actors. They still remain alive and uncontrollable. They’re a wild beast, in a good way.”

Originally named Best Foreign Language Film, the Best International Feature Film category underwent a slight makeover and name change at the start of 2019 as the Academy sought to better represent motion picture artists working around the world.

“We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee, of the alteration “We believe that International Feature Film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”

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