Bong Joon Ho’s Korean class thriller “Parasite” won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film on Sunday, making it official: The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. is part of the #BongHive. Directed by Bong and co-written with Han Jin Won, the genre-blending story of a poor South Korean clan that manipulates their way into the employ of a rich family was nominated for three awards at the 77th Golden Globes, including screenplay and director.
“Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” Bong said, accepting the Globe with the help of his translator, Sharon Choi. “Just being nominated along with fellow amazing international filmmakers was a huge honor. I think we use only one language: the cinema.”
The film stars longtime Bong collaborator Song Kang Ho (“Memories of Murder,” “The Host,” “Snowpiercer”), Chang Hyae Jin, Choi Woo Shik and Park So Dam as the struggling Kim family and Lee Sun Kyun and Cho Yeo Jeong as the wealthy Parks. Bong’s seventh feature film to date has not only been a word-of-mouth sleeper success in the U.S., it’s also a bona fide global blockbuster as his first film to cross the $100-million mark worldwide.
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The box office and awards success of “Parasite” runs counter to Hollywood’s typical disinterest in international cinema.
“Parasite” made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May where it won the coveted Palme d’Or, prompting the coinage of the cinephile phrase “Bong d’Or. ” Since then a bounty of viral memes and the explosion of the #BongHive, a fervent following devoted to filmmaker Bong on social media, have pointed to the film’s surging popularity across the globe.
Released by indie distributor Neon, “Parasite” opened stateside in May to strong critical praise and has grossed over $128 million worldwide to date, including more than $23 million in the U.S. — a benchmark few foreign-language films have ever achieved.
Throughout a competitive awards season, the film racked up honors including best picture, director and supporting actor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., best foreign-language film from the National Board of Review, as well as dozens more wins and nominations from guilds and critics groups around the world. “Parasite” is the first Korean film nominated for a Golden Globe.
Due to an HFPA rule barring films with less than 50% English dialogue from competing for its top prize, “Parasite” was not eligible for best drama film consideration at the Golden Globes. However, it’s a heavy favorite heading into the Academy Awards, where it is eligible in both the best picture and international film categories.