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The South Korean film beat The IrishmanJojo RabbitBombshell and Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

By Aurelie Corinthios
January 19, 2020 10:29 PM
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Parasite just took home the biggest award of the night at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The film won the statuette for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at Sunday evening’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles. It was up against The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Bombshell and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

This was the first time in SAG Awards history that a foreign language film took home the honor. Speaking through a translator, actor Kang-Ho Song thanked the crowd, calling the win “a great honor.”

“Although the title is Parasite, the story is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” he said. “But to be honored with the best ensemble award, it occurs to me that maybe we haven’t created such a bad movie.”

Parasite
Cast of Parasite
| Credit: Rich Fury/Getty

“I am so honored to receive this award in front of so many actors I admire,” he said. “I will never forget this beautiful night.”

“I think this film resonated with a lot of people because I think in any society these days you have the haves and have nots, you have those who are needy and those who are well off and, every society you have those groups constantly existing with one another,” Song told PEOPLE backstage after the win. “I think that’s why the film was gain so much sympathy from people all over the world.”

“I’m a little embarrassed feeling like we’re the parasites of Hollywood now,” Lee Sun Gyun added to reporters. “Hopefully, with this opportunity and with the success of Parasite, various industries across the world can coexist and exist together.”

“To add on that, last year was Korean cinema’s hundredth year anniversary,” Choi Woo-Shik chimed in. “It was the year where we got in the door and that was history that we made. But today, we just made a new history that 20 years after Life is Beautiful, a foreign cast won this big award. I think as we speak right now, we are making new history.”

The Kim Family (Woo-sik Choi, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, So-dam Park) in Parasite.
Credit: Neon

Director Bong Joon-Ho told reporters that “it is true that the momentum is building [for the Oscars], and we are a part of the awards race and the campaign, but I think today what’s truly important is that these actors were acknowledged by fellow peers, acknowledged as the best ensemble cast of this year. And that’s the greatest joy of this night. In regards to the Oscars, who knows. No one can predict what will happen.”

Parasite is just the second foreign language film to score an ensemble nomination in the history of the SAG Awards, following the 1997 Italian movie Life Is Beautiful.

It was already a blockbuster hit in South Korea before it became one of the most talked-about films of 2019 in the United States. The mastermind behind the thriller, South Korea-born Bong Joon-ho, premiered the movie at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival last May, where it became the first Korean film to win the coveted Palme d’Or, the top prize of the festival.

The film, which follows a poor family and a rich family as they become unusually entangled, stars Song Kang-ho, Cho Yeo-jeong, Park So-dam, Choi Woo-shik, Chang Hyae-Jin, Jung Hyeon-Jun, Jung Ziso, Lee Jung-eun, Lee Sun-kyun and Park Myung-hoon.

The movie also won best foreign language film at the 2020 Golden Globes and is up for best picture at the Oscars next month.

The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were presented live on TNT and TBS on Sunday.

With reporting by Tomás Mier.