Bong Joon-ho's Parasite made a lot of history on Sunday night at the Academy Awards. Not only did it become the first foreign-language film to win the top prize of best picture, but Bong was also the first South Korean to win best director. Earlier in the evening, the film's win for best original screenplay, which Bong shared with cowriter Han Jin-won, marked the first-ever Oscar win for South Korea.
While most of Bong's remarks on Oscar night were translated from Korean by Sharon Choi, he had a very relatable response when asked in the press room how he "won over Hollywood."
"It's literally f*cking crazy," he told journalists.
Bong has been making movies for 20 years, so even he's not sure what made Parasite catch on in America any more than his other projects.
"I'm just a very strange person," he said via Choi, adding that "it was the same process making this film, but we've had these amazing results."
He added that this is particularly strange because "my previous film, Okja, was a
coproduction between Korea and the US, but Parasite, which is a purely Korean film, has garnered more enthusiasm from audiences all over the world. And that's making me think that, perhaps, the deeper I delve into things that are around me, the broader the story can become, and the more appeal it can have to an international audience."
In the long run, Bong doesn't think these wins will change his life that much.
"I've been working for the past 20 years, and regardless what happened at Cannes [where Parasite won last year's Palme d'Or] and Oscars, I had been working on two projects before then, I'm continuing to work on them — nothing has changed because of these awards," he said. "One is in Korean, and one is in English."
The same goes for translator Choi, who studied filmmaking.
"She's writing [a] feature-length script," Bong said. "I'm so curious about it."