South Koreans explode with joy over ‘Parasite’ Oscar wins
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.
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.