How did Bong Joon Ho celebrate six historic Oscar nominations on Monday for his hit thriller "Parasite"? First, he woke up early in Los Angeles and searched for a Wi-Fi signal, much like the protagonists of his acclaimed Korean class-warfare tale. Then he live-streamed the good news, delighted to see Korean American actor John Cho cohosting the nominations with Issa Rae. Lastly, and very importantly, he revealed a few hours later, he treated himself to a reward of celebratory ice cream.
A toasting menu suggestion for the filmmaker and his devoted #BongHive: Peaches for the competition. Ramdon for all!
Calling later Monday and speaking with assistance from his translator, Bong said he still feels like he's dreaming. He is nominated thrice for "Parasite" ("Gisaenchung" in Korean) in the directing, original screenplay (with co-writer Han Jin Won) and best picture categories (alongside producer Kwak Sin Ae).
"Parasite," starring longtime Bong muse Song Kang Ho, Chang Hyae Jin, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong and Lee Jung Eun, is up for three more Oscars including best international feature.
The nominations mark Bong's first Academy Award nods in a two-decade feature directing career, and are the first Oscar nominations ever for a film from South Korea. Earlier this month, "Parasite" became the first Korean film to win a Golden Globe award, taking the foreign-language film statuette.
Sharing insights from his dazzling awards tour so far as well as some cinephile love for the fellow filmmakers he's met along the way, Bong looked forward to his "Parasite" team joining him in L.A. ahead of the Feb. 9 Academy Awards. "It will be the Avengers assembling!"
Q: Congratulations! How do you feel after getting those six Oscar nominations?
A: It's very hectic! This is the first time that we're going through this, and of course more experienced teams are helping us, but all the Korean team members were all very happy but at the same time perplexed. It feels like if I take the wrong step I'll wake up from my dream and find that we're still a day before the kickoff of 1/8making3/8 "Parasite."
Q: You premiered in Cannes last May and won the Palme d'Or, but the past few months have been particularly busy for you, screening "Parasite" and collecting awards and honors leading up to today's Oscar announcements. Where were you when you heard the news and what were you doing?
A: I was in my apartment lying on the couch. I woke up to the alarm, connected my iPad to the Wi-Fi like in the opening of "Parasite," and went on YouTube to watch the livestream. They announced it so fast. I noticed that John Cho was one of the announcers. He's a great actor and I met him many years ago. He's an amazing guy.