South Kore­ans explode with joy over ‘Par­a­site’ Os­car wins

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By Hyung-Jin Kim and Juwon Park

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA >> South Kore­ans re­acted with rare col­lec­tive joy Mon­day af­ter di­rec­tor Bong Joon Ho and his movie “Par­a­site” won Os­cars for best pic­ture and three other cat­e­gories, good news that came as their coun­try strug­gles to cope with a new virus from China and its eco­nomic fall­out.

The movie’s wins made his­tory in both the Hol­ly­wood and South Korean film in­dus­tries. The class satire is the first non-English-lan­guage film to win best pic­ture in the 92year his­tory of the Academy Awards, and is the first South Korean movie to ever win an Os­car.

“Can you be­lieve that ‘Par­a­site’ won the Academy best pic­ture?” South Korea’s big­gest news­pa­per, Cho­sun Ilbo, said in a head­line. “It rewrote the Academy’s 92-yearold his­tory.”

South Korean so­cial me­dia were over­whelmed with con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages. Bong, “Par­a­site” and other Os­car-re­lated news also dom­i­nated search terms through­out Mon­day at ma­jor in­ter­net por­tal sites, which had been pre­oc­cu­pied with the out­break of a virus in China that has killed more than 900 peo­ple and sick­ened tens of thou­sands of oth­ers, mainly in China.

Wor­ries about the virus have been grow­ing in South Korea, where 27 cases have been re­ported, though no deaths have oc­curred. Sales at tour agen­cies, restau­rants, movie the­aters and depart­ment stores have sharply de­clined, rais­ing wor­ries about the im­pact on South Korea’s al­ready­lag­ging econ­omy. Op­po­si­tion par­ties are ac­cus­ing the govern­ment of in­ef­fec­tive­ness in cop­ing with the out­break.

But the con­cerns about the virus and political war­fare eased Mon­day to cel­e­brate Bong’s wins.

“It’s happy news, like wel­come rain, to the Re­pub­lic of Korea, which is de­pressed, stag­nant and thrown into de­spair due to Wuhan pneu­mo­nia,” the main op­po­si­tion Lib­erty Korea Party said in a state­ment. Wuhan is the Chi­nese city at the cen­ter of the out­break.

AHN YOUNG-JOON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Par­a­site ac­tor Jeong Hyeon­jun, left, and his mother Lee Min Jae cel­e­brate as they watch a broad­cast of South Korean di­rec­tor Bong Joon Ho re­ceiv­ing the award for best orig­i­nal screen­play for “Par­a­site” at the Os­cars.

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