Going into tonight’s (February 9) Oscars, you’d be forgiven for thinking Parasite might not come out on top. After all, when the Academy had once again failed when it came to diversity in the 2020 nominations, why would you expect them to give the main prizes to a film with barely any lines in English?
- Read more: Parasite review: Bong Joon-ho’s darkly comic thriller is a modern masterpiece (yes, even with subtitles)
Just as surprised that Parasite did quite so well, it turns out, was the film’s own cast and crew, delightfully represented in the joyous reactions of director Bong Joon-ho. The filmmaker is no stranger to winning awards, especially after a magnificent run this awards season, but the Oscars really seemed to catch him off guard and that left us all blessed – him with some surprise new additions to his mantelpiece and us with his incredibly pure, gleeful responses.
The night really began when the award for Best Original Screenplay was announced. Bong came to the stage with his fellow screenwriter Han Jin-won and, while the latter was busy addressing the Dolby Theatre audience, he did what anyone would do – took a good hard look at the shiny new trophy in his hands, let a broad grin take over his face and give a soft giggle.
please enjoy this gif of bong joon ho giggling at his oscar pic.twitter.com/6ErVC8NEef
— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) February 10, 2020
Next up, the award for Best International Feature Film. After a speech thanking his cast and fellow nominees in Korean (with the help of star in her own right, translator Sharon Choi), Bong quietly slipped back into English to declare: “I’m ready to drink tonight.” And so he should.
“I’m ready to drink tonight.” Bong Joon Ho
— NEON (@neonrated) February 10, 2020
Thought Parasite’s winning run was over? So did Bong, who had to be practically shaken out of his seat by actor Song Kang-ho when Spike Lee called his name. “After winning Best International Feature, I thought I was done for the day and I could relax,” he said once he made it to the podium, his emotion and disbelief painted all over his face. He went on to pay beautiful tribute to his cinematic teachers, including fellow nominee Martin Scorsese.
“Just to be nominated was a huge honour, I never thought I would win,” he continued, thanking Quentin Tarantino for always supporting him and offering to take a “Texas chainsaw” to his Oscar trophy and split into five to share with Todd Phillips and Sam Mendes. “Thank you,” he concluded his heartwarming speech. “I will drink until next morning.”
— Ardit Luciano (@Ardit_Luciano) February 10, 2020
When Parasite made even more history by becoming the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture, Bong passed over the mic to the rest of the crew while he raced around the stage congratulating everyone. But his seed was sown and the joy of Parasite winning had infected the room – when the stage lights went down as producer Miky Lee tried to follow up Kwak Sin Ae’s acceptance speech, the likes of Charlize Theron and Tom Hanks chanted for them to be brought back up.
I don’t really believe in God but… God bless Tom Hanks for leading the charge to keep the lights on so that Bong Joon-Ho and the #Parasite crew could finish speaking and fully enjoy their victory. #Oscarspic.twitter.com/hawx8PKMcL
— Jay Thomas (@ThisJayThomas) February 10, 2020
“Thank you, it’s an unbeliveable night,” Bong added to the Academy’s backstage Thank You Cam. “It’s very hard to believe. It’s such a great honour. I feel like I’ll wake up to find this all a dream, it’s very surreal.” Tonight might have been one full of shocks for viewers and winners alike, but Parasite’s dominance was resoundingly deserved and made even more necessary by its creator’s pure joy.