Bong Joon Ho Makes History As First Korean To Nab Best Director Oscar Nomination

Bong's film "Parasite" also earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best International Feature Film and Production Design.

Bong Joon Ho made history on Monday, nabbing a nomination at the upcoming 92nd annual Academy Awards for Best Director and becoming the first Korean to do so.

The South Korean director and screenwriter was nominated for the prestigious award for his smash hit “Parasite.” The black comedy-thriller follows a poor family as they craftily scheme their way into becoming employees of a wealthy family.

Bong Joon Ho attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.
Bong Joon Ho attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovac via Getty Images

“Parasite” has reached mass critical acclaim since its release in May. It’s racked up a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is widely viewed as one of the best movies of 2019.

It premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize. It received a unanimous vote for the accolade, something that had not happened since 2013′s “Blue Is the Warmest Colour.”

“Parasite” became the source material for many memes, and was also included on former President Barack Obama’s list of favorite movies of the year.

“Parasite” also racked up other Oscar nominations on Monday, landing in the Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Production Design, Original Screenplay, and Film Editing categories.

It was the first time South Korea was represented in the Best Picture and International Film categories.

The film also earned nominations at the 2020 Golden Globes for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film, and won Best Foreign Language Film.

“Once you overcome the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many amazing films,” Bong declared during his Golden Globes acceptance speech through a translator.

Bong told NPR in December that the release of “Parasite” coincided with the centennial of Korean film, which began with the 1919 movie “Fight for Justice,” and added that he hopes his film’s accolades will bolster the culture’s movie-making prowess.

“Time piles on and now we’ve reached the 100th anniversary. Compared to Japanese or Hong Kong film, the history of Korean cinema is relatively lesser known to American and European audiences. I hope, due to the opportunities that have arisen ... people will realize that Korean cinema has also had a lot of masters,” he said.

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