Academy Awards Round Up: All Of the Barriers That ‘Parasite’ Broke With Its 2020 Oscar Wins

“Hollywood” may be a catch-all term for the film industry, but at this point, few major films are actually made in Los Angeles (save for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood). The greater population is catching on that there is talent to be recognized globally, and Parasite is the most recent reminder of that. Here’s how the Oscar-winning film has done just that.

‘Parasite’ won big at the 2020 Academy Awards

(From 2nd L) Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun Gyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Kwak Sin-ae, and Park Myung-hoon accept the Best Picture award for ‘Parasite’ with interpreter Sharon Choi onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Parasite, a South Korean thriller, sees a struggling family of four who manipulate a wealthy family into employing them all. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, and quickly became a front-runner for the 2020 awards season, nominated for a total of six Oscars.

The film was considered a lock in the International Feature (formerly Foreign Language) Film category. But it was surprising that it took home three additional awards: Best Original Screenplay, Best Director for Bong Joon-ho, and the top prize: Best Picture.

It’s the first foreign language film to win Best Picture

So what exactly was historic about Parasite‘s wins? Well, for one thing, it’s the first foreign language film to win for Best Picture. Because of this, it is also the first to win both the Best Picture and now-renamed International Feature awards.

Additionally, Joon-Ho is only the second Asian director to win for Best Director, and the first of Korean descent. And he, along with co-writer Han Jin-won, are the first Asian winners in the Best Original Screenplay category.

The crowd yelled when they turned the lights down

Parasite‘s huge win at the end of the night came with thunderous applause and a very long standing ovation. Producer Kwak Sin-ae spoke first, saying, “I’m speechless. We never imagined this to ever happen. We are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now. I express my deepest gratitude and respect for all the members of the Academy for making this decision. Thank you.”

Then, something intriguing happened. The ceremony had already run 30 minutes past the time it was scheduled to end. So they turned the house lights down. But the audience was unhappy with this, and a chant erupted to turn the lights back up, allowing Miky Lee of distributor CJ Entertainment to give her speech.

‘Parasite’ is the first Korean film to win an Oscar

All of the above accomplishments are impressive. But what’s even more incredible is that Parasite is the first Korean film to win any Academy Awards, let alone to dominate is so many major categories.

With K-pop bigger than ever and other Korean entertainment on the rise, this kind of representation is so meaningful. As Joon-Ho himself said at the Golden Globes, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”