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The Oscars are always an award show with some serious competition, but the 2020 Best Director category had some serious pull in it. Names like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino were in there, alongside Sam Mendes, Bong Joon Ho, and Todd Philips.
It really was anybody's category, as all the films under consideration were viewed as good. But up to this point it looks like its Bong Joon Ho's night. After winning awards for his screenplay and for the best international film, he was quite shocked himself to hear his name called for best director.
While Bong Joon Ho's name might be new to a lot of people in the U.S. he's put together quite the film resume in South Korea, so the win maybe wasn't the sort upset it might have been, but if anybody understood just what a monumental win it was, Bong Joon Ho himself certainly did. It wasn't simply that he won, it was that he beat some absolute titans in order to do it.
As part of his acceptance speech, Bong Joon Ho called out Martin Scorsese, mentioning that, when he was studying film, he studied the works of Martin Scorsese. The newly crowned Best Director also made a specific shoutout to Quentin Tarantino. He said that, before most people in America actually knew who he was, Tarantino, would always include Bong Joon Ho's films on lists of his favorites, something that was clearly appreciated.
Hearing other directors thank Martin Scorsese isn't exactly a new thing, the man is, almost without question, the greatest living film director in Hollywood, and the fact that he's still being nominated for Best Director nearly 40 years after the first time he was given the honor, shows just how great he is.
Quentin Tarantino might not have quite the resume of Martin Scorsese, but he's put together a remarkable career of his own, and he's often championed filmmakers that the mainstream tends to overlook, like Bong Joon Ho.
Todd Philips and Sam Mendes also got mentioned in the acceptance speech, but, without disrespect to them, it was clear that Tarantino and Scorsese were the two big influences on Bong Joon Ho, and so winning the award over them, was a really big deal. While Bong Joon Ho's remarks were relayed through an interpreter, you could still feel the emotion and the energy coming from him.
While foreign language films aren't entirely ignored by the Academy, Parasite has clearly struck a nerve with them, as this movie is getting much more love than most foreign language films.
It was a very classy acceptance speech from a guy who clearly hadn't written it in advance. Bong Joon Ho certainly was of the opinion, as many probably were, that if Parasite won the Oscar for best international film, it probably wouldn't win any other major awards. That turned out to not be the case.
Of course, literally as I'm finishing up writing this, Parasite wins the award for Best Picture, so it truly was a huge night for Bong Joon Ho, it really doesn't get any bigger than this.