Speed Reads

2020 Oscars

Parasite makes Oscars history as the 1st foreign-language Best Picture winner

History has been made at the Oscars.

Bong Joon-ho's Parasite pulled off a major upset at Sunday's Academy Awards by winning Best Picture over the heavy favorite, 1917. In doing so, Parasite becomes the first foreign-language film to ever win Best Picture in the 92-year history of the Oscars.

Foreign-language films have competed for Best Picture before, with 11 others having been nominated in Oscars history. This included in 2019, when Roma was considered the favorite to win Best Picture but ultimately lost to Green Book. Parasite was also the first South Korean movie to be nominated for Best Picture.

This win came after Parasite also became the first foreign-language film to take the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But pundits widely expected a Best Picture win for 1917 after its victories at the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild of America Awards, the Directors Guilds of America Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards. In years' past, analysts had also theorized a foreign-language film would have difficulty taking Best Picture because voters would consider the separate Oscar of Best International Feature Film enough recognition.

But passion within the Academy for Parasite was strong enough that Bong's film took not just Best International Feature Film, but also Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Parasite had previously won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, during which Bong in his acceptance speech memorably noted, "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." Oscar voters, it seems, took his advice.