'Parasite' director enjoying spotlight after Oscar Best Picture nod, a rare honor for foreign film

ByGeorge Pennacchio KABC logo
Monday, February 10, 2020
'Parasite' director in the spotlight after Oscar Best Picture nod
The dark comedy from South Korea "Parasite" is only the 11th foreign film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

LOS ANGELES -- Win or lose, "Parasite" director Bong Joon Ho is confident a foreign-language film will soon win an Oscar.

"Regardless of the outcome, I think the door has been opened," the director from South Korea said. "I think as long as we continue this effort, the door will just open wider and wider."

"Parasite" has a chance to be the first non-English film to win best picture - a credit to its poignant story about income inequality, a talented ensemble cast and an academy membership that has grown more international in recent years. Bong walked the red carpet with eight actors from the film, noting that actors and others from the American film industry were excited to meet them.

"I don't necessarily think it's fair to separate films into English and non-English," he said. "I think as long as they're beautiful, it's cinema."

Bong isn't sweating whether he leaves with a trophy. Mostly, he's excited that the Oscars end a five-week trip away from his home in South Korea.

"After the ceremony, there will be a party, and after the party I will get to go home," he said. "So thinking about those two things, doesn't make me nervous at all."

"Parasite" is now just the 11th foreign language film ever nominated for the Academy Awards' Best Picture.

It's a dark comedy from South Korea, completely subtitled, and tells the story of a family of, well, parasites. They've learned to live off of other people in one way or another.

Writer, producer and director Bong Joon-Ho accounts for three of "Parasite's" six Oscar nominations. He thinks he knows why people are still talking about this movie three months after its release.

"I think that's because it's a very contemporary story that this film explores with humor, with cruelty and I think that's why audiences in Korea, the U.S., all over the world - it leaves a lot of food for thought for everyone, a lot of complicated thoughts," said Joon-Ho.

The man behind the movie says the South Korean press has written so many articles about "Parasite's" nominations, he actually had to give up trying to read them all. Still, he is loving all this goodwill.

"This is a very festive event that's happening right now but I'm trying to maintain calm, maintain my normal process and lifestyle," said Joon-Ho.

That process includes Joon-Ho continuing his work on two projects he's been creating for years now.

At 50, he's been at this for 20 years and he knows there will be pressure with what comes next. For now, the filmmaker is just enjoying this most unusual experience.

"I saw Martin Scorsese three times across four days and then I would be eating and realize that Joaquin Phoenix is right behind me," said Joon-Ho. "So it's a very surreal experience."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.