'Parasite' Makes History With First South Korea Spirit Award Win

Saturday's success made for Bong Joon Ho's first Spirit Award.

Parasite, Bong Joon Ho’s dark comedy juggernaut, made history Saturday at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards as it took home the ceremony's best international film prize.

The film, which is up for five Academy Awards, including best picture, was the first-ever South Korea winner at the annual awards show held on the beach in Santa Monica. Parasite bested fellow nominees Invisible Life (Brazil), Les Misérables (France), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France), Retablo (Peru) and The Souvenir (U.K.).

Upon receiving his award from Zazie Beetz and Jon M. Chu, Bong reminisced on his history with the awards ceremony.

"Ten years ago, I came here with my previous film Mother — it didn't win, but I remember the tent," he said through a translator. "I'm so happy to receive the award at a much cooler tent."

The director also took the time to relive one of the first screenings held for Parasite. Following the showing, Bong said that something had distracted him during the screening's Q&A.

"I saw a rat running in the background," he said. "It was a very old theater and ... I thought that it was a symbol of luck."

Parasite is up for best international feature film at the 2020 Oscars alongside Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables. Saturday night’s success also marked Bong’s first Spirit Award win. He received a nomination in 2010 for his film Mother, but the prize for best foreign film went to Lone Scherfig’s An Education.

Bong's title follows the lower-class Kim family as they gradually invade the domestic lives of the richer Park clan.

The film has already taken home a number of awards, including from the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. The cast won the best ensemble prize at the 2020 SAG Awards and also made history as the ceremony’s first foreign-language film winner.

The 35th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by Aubrey Plaza, aired live on IFC.