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Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, a South Korean dramedy about a poverty-stricken family who hustles a wealthy couple with unintended consequences, won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film on Sunday.
“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” said Bong, who used a translator, Sharon Choi, to deliver his acceptance speech mostly in Korean. “Just being nominated along with fellow, amazing international filmmakers was a huge honor.”
The filmmaker then added, “I think we use only one language: the cinema.”
Other nominees in the category included Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (U.S.), Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables (France), Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory (Spain) and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France).
Going into the night, the genre-bending thriller was nominated in the best director, foreign-language film and screenplay categories. Parasite did not qualify for the best picture honor, since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association stipulates contenders feature “more than 50 percent English dialogue” in the film and Parasite is fully in Korean.
While earning rave reviews, Parasite has become a box office hit and seems likely to become South Korea’s first Oscar-nominated film. After becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film of the year, the pic is also now poised to become one of the top 10-grossing foreign-language films of all time at the U.S. box office.
Of the critical interpretation of his film as a critique of capitalism and income inequality, Bong told The Hollywood Reporter, “This idea of a poor family infiltrating the lives of a rich one is where I first delved in. It was more like putting these characters together in a very controlled environment and then watching the chemical reactions unfold.”
While speaking backstage about the award, Bong admitted that he was surprised by the success of the film at the U.S. box office, but added that it was “very inevitable because this film is about the rich and poor, and the U.S. is about the heart of capitalism, so I thought it was natural to gain such an explosive response.”
He continued, “And while Parasite has these political messages and themes, the reason why the story felt so familiar to the U.S. audiences is the incredible charm these actors have.”
Among its category, Parasite had earned directing and writing noms, which few non-English-language Globe nominees ever have.
The 77th Golden Globe Awards were hosted by Ricky Gervais and broadcast live coast-to-coast on NBC.
Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes, shares a parent company with The Hollywood Reporter.
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