Somebody get Bong Joon-Ho a drink! The Parasite director just pulled off what might be the biggest surprise of the 2020 Oscars by taking home the Academy Award for Best Director. 1917‘s Sam Mendes was the favorite going into the telecast, and even Bong himself thought he was done accepting golden statuettes after Parasite won the award for Best International Feature.
“After winning Best International Feature I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax,” the director said in Korean via his translator, Sharon Choi. All jokes aside, the filmmaker then got sentimental. “When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart: The most personal is most creative,” he said. “That quote was by the great Martin Scorsese.”
Scorsese, of course, was a fellow nominee in the directing category for his generational mob drama The Irishman. Everyone inside the Dolby Theatre erupted into cheers, standing for the legendary Hollywood filmmaker while Bong smiled from the podium. “When I was in school I studied Martin Scorsese’s films,” he said. “Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I’d win.”
The South Korean filmmaker then thanked Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood‘s Quentin Tarantino for his support over the years. “When people in the U.S. people were not familiar with my films, Quentin always put my films on his lists,” Bong said. “And Todd [Phillips] and Sam [Mendes], great directors that I admire,” he added. “If the Academy allows, I would like to get a chainsaw and split the award into five and share it with all of you.”
Now, that’s a true celebration of cinema and the people who make it. (And very much in the spirit Bong’s genre roots.)
Before tonight, Bong and South Korea had zero Oscars — but Parasite can’t stop making history. This directing honor is Bong’s third Academy Award of the night. In addition to taking home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, “Parasite” won Best International Feature.