Parasite's Bong Joon Ho Shocked to Take Home Best Director Oscar: 'I Never Thought I Would Win'
The South Korean filmmaker took home Best Director at the 2020 Oscars for his gripping thriller Parasite. This is Bong’s third Academy Award win of the night. Parasite won for Best International Feature and Bong also won Best Original Screenplay along with Han Jin Won.
“After winning Best International Feature, I thought I was done for the day and was ready to relax,” he said. “Thank you so much. When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying I that I carved deep into my heart, which was: ‘The most personal is the most creative.'”
After revealing the quote came from fellow nominee Martin Scorsese, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation.
“When I was in school I studied Martin Scorsese’s films. Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I would win,” he said.
He also gave his other fellow nominees a sweet shout-out.
“When people in the U.S. were not familiar with my films, Quentin [Tarantino] always put my films on his list. He’s here, thank you so much. Quentin, I love you,” he said. “If the Academy would allow, I’d like to get a Texas chainsaw and split the Oscar trophy into five and share it with all of you.”
The director beat out fellow nominees Sam Mendes for 1917; Todd Phillips for Joker; Scorsese, 77, for The Irishman and Tarantino, 56, for Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood.
“I’ve seen Scorsese lose this award multiple times. He didn’t know back then but I was so frustrated,” he said through a translator in the press room backstage later that night. “So to be nominated with him is a huge honor. ”
Parasite was nominated for six awards total on Sunday night after earning critical acclaim and the prestigious Palme d’Or last May, the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Almost all of last decade’s Best Director winners have gone to foreign filmmakers, with Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñárritu dominating the last 10 years with five wins between them.
The only American director to win in the 2010s was Damien Chazelle for La La Land in 2016. Before him, the last American to win was Kathryn Bigelow, who stands as the only woman ever awarded the prize.
The category drew immediate criticism for its all-male list of nominees when Issa Rae announced it in early January. Critics and fans hoped Greta Gerwig would earn a nomination for the highly lauded Little Women after the Academy nominated her in 2017 for Lady Bird.
The 92nd Annual Academy Awards are airing live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9.