By Sangmi Cha and Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean social media erupted in celebration on Monday after the dark comedy “Parasite” became the first non-English language movie to win the Best Picture award, already having netted three other Oscars in a historic first for the country.
“Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho said he was honored to be awarded Best Original Screenplay, the first Oscar for South Korea’s large film industry.
But as the night continued, the film also came out on top of increasingly prestigious categories, including International Feature Film award, Best Director for Bong, and the top award, Best Picture.
“I’m ready to drink tonight,” Bong joked, after thanking the cast and staff during his acceptance speech for the International Feature Film award.
Executive producer Kwak Sin-ae said she was “speechless” after the film won Best Picture.
Hashtags Parasite and DirectorBongJoonho were the most trending on Twitter South Korea, while the movie name was the most searched on the local Naver web portal after the wins.
“Parasite”, a satirical take on the vast gap between the rich and poor in South Korea, snagged nominations for best picture, best director, and best production design, in addition to its best screenplay and best international feature nominations.
“Just like BTS had a popular appeal by casting the problems the youth go through everywhere in the world, ‘Parasite’ gained global understanding by demonstrating the issue of the gap between the rich and poor,” pop culture critic Kim Hern-sik said, referring to the K-pop group that has found wide success in the United States and around the world.
While South Korea’s film industry is one of the largest in the world, the Korean-language “Parasite” made unprecedented waves in international markets.
After the nominations were announced in January, Bong said he saw it as a sign that language is no longer a barrier to global success.
One clip making the rounds on South Korean social media mocked a reporter who asked Bong why he shot the film in Korean.
“She should’ve asked Scorsese or Tarantino why they shot their own movies in English,” one commenter said, referencing other directors who were nominated.
Another popular clip on South Korean social media was a slow motion picture of the cast enjoying the night on the red carpet, cheering the stars and wishing them the best of luck.
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris tweeted, “we are doing a watch party at the embassy eating jjapaguri”, referring to the noodle dish the rich family enjoys in the movie.
(Reporting by Sangmi Cha and Hyonhee Shin, Editing by Josh Smith, Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle)