'Parasite's' History-Making Journey From Cannes to the Oscars

Every notable award the Bong Joon-ho film has won, so far.

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As we approach the end of the 2019-2020 awards season, it’s clear that Bong Joon-ho‘s Parasite made the biggest impact on the industry as the underdog who pushed critics and audiences to “overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.” The Korean dark comedy thriller, which stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam, told a story of class divide and social inequality through a creative lens that also provided a space for representation in the entertainment sphere.

Parasite repeatedly made history in the awards circuit and is closing the season with a bang at the 2020 Oscars, becoming the first foreign film to win Best Picture in the Academy Awards’ nearly 100-year background. To celebrate its important and historical influence, we’ve compiled a list of major awards the film has rightfully won throughout its run so far.

72nd Cannes Film Festival

Parasite made its world premiere at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019 and became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, competing against highly-anticipated titles like Jim Jarmusch‘s The Dead Don’t Die and Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It went home with the festival’s highest award after a unanimous vote from the jury — a first since Blue Is the Warmest Colour in 2013 — and gave Bong an eight-minute standing ovation.

77th Golden Globe Awards

The cast and crew of Parasite kicked off 2020 at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, taking home the Globe for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language, and receiving nominations for Bong as Best Director and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture for both Bong and Han Jin-won. During his acceptance speech, the director left a message that became an eyeopener for audiences and critics: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

26th Screen Actors Guild Awards

Parasite’s 10-person cast made history at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards when they became the first foreign ensemble to win Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The all-Korean cast picked up the award over Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

73rd British Academy Film Awards

Across the pond, Parasite managed to bring home two out of its four BAFTA nominations, winning Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Not in the English language. The movie also ran for Best Film alongside Joker, The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, while Bong was up for Best Director alongside Sam Mendes, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

35th Film Independent Spirit Awards

Bong made his second appearance at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards as Parasite became the first South Korean title to win Best International Film. The director’s 2009 drama Mother previously earned a nomination but was beaten by Lone Scherfig’s An Education. During his acceptance speech, Bong began to tell the story of seeing a rat in the theater of Parasite’s first screening, but eventually decided to save the story for some other time.

92nd Academy Awards

On top of going home with Best Picture at the Oscars, Bong was also awarded with Best Director and is only the second non-English film director to take home this award, following Alfonso Cuarón for Roma in 2018. The film won two more leading categories, namely Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film, plus nominations for Best Production Design and Best Film Editing — a history-making night.

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