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Parasite director Bong Joon Ho says ‘language barrier’ broken after Oscar nod

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GRETA GERWIG (R) directs Saoirse Ronan in Little Women.

SEOUL — Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said he was surprised and overjoyed when the film won six Oscar nominations on Monday, a historic first for South Korea’s film industry and a sign that language is no longer a barrier to global success.

Parasite, a dark comedy about the vast gap between the rich and poor in South Korea, snagged a coveted best picture nomination, best director for Bong, and best screenplay in addition to its best international feature nomination.

“Every time they announced the new nominations, it was so thrilling, because we didn’t really anticipate any of this,” Bong told Reuters Television in an interview in California.

Bong had previously discussed the challenges of international films breaking the “language barrier” around the world, but said the nominations suggest those barriers may now be falling.

“We can say that thanks to the internet, social media and these streaming services, the entire society is experiencing less of these language barriers and perhaps Parasite benefitted from that global trend,” he said.

In a video shared online by production company NEON, one of the show’s stars, Song Kang-ho, manages to not spill a cup of coffee as he and others in the room excitedly celebrate.

“The sign you’re a global superstar: You don’t spill your coffee when your film is nominated for Best Picture,” the company said.

REACTIONS FROM OTHER NOMINEES
Oscar nominees expressed a mixture of pride, gratitude and honor on Monday after being short-listed for the 2020 Academy Awards.

The following are some reactions — through statements, telephone calls and social media — to the nominations.

• Adam Driver, best actor nominee, Marriage Story — “I’m honored and incredibly grateful to represent the people who made Marriage Story, and to be included among a list of actors I greatly admire!”

• Leonardo DiCaprio, best actor nominee, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — “This film in many ways is a tribute to all those who were a part of this industry. Cinema is, and continues to be a powerful form of free artistic expression. This film along with so many others this year were truly original and impactful. I hope, as we progress, we continue to see even more of them.”

• Joaquin Phoenix, best actor nominee, Joker — “I feel honored and humbled to have been nominated by my fellow actors. The Academy’s encouragement helped ignite and sustain my career and I am incredibly grateful for that support.”

• Sam Mendes, best director, original screenplay nominee, 1917 — “I couldn’t be more thrilled. This movie was a labor of love for many people — myself included — so to see it recognized in this way is very moving for all of us. I would like to thank the Academy on behalf of my fellow producers, and on behalf of every single person who put their heart and soul into this film.”

• Martin Scorsese, best director nominee, The Irishman — “I’m honored that our work on The Irishman has been honored by the Academy with these nominations. We put all of ourselves into this picture, a true labor of love, and to be recognized in this way means a great deal to all of us.”

• Laura Dern, best supporting actress nominee, Marriage Story — “It is such an honor to be acknowledged by one’s peers in this extraordinary way. I am so proud of the brilliant writing, directing and the magnificent cast of Marriage Story.”

• Tom Hanks, best supporting actor nominee, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — “I’m honored to be included with the caliber of actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Brad Pitt. It will be a grand night.”

• Robert De Niro, (producer) best picture nominee, The Irishman — “Bringing The Irishman to the screen was a 12-year saga which I wanted to make with my friends and work again with Marty (Scorsese), Joe (Pesci) and Al (Pacino)… It’s great that the picture has been embraced by audiences and is now getting this recognition from the Academy.”

• Cynthia Erivo, best actress nominee and best original song, Harriet — “To receive two Oscar nominations for a film paying tribute to Harriet Tubman, a person whose heart and spirit are the embodiment of courage, makes this morning’s news beyond anything I could have ever imagined. This is more than a dream come true… being asked to co-write and perform the song in the film was the icing on an already wonderful cake.”

• Saoirse Ronan, best actress nominee, Little Women — “I’m just so thrilled that our Little Women has been recognized by the Academy. Greta (Gerwig) made something so special that I’m just thankful to have been a part of, let alone nominated for.”

• Former President Barack Obama, best documentary feature nominee, American Factory — “Glad to see American Factory’s Oscar nod for best documentary. It’s the kind of story we don’t see often enough and it’s exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve with (our production company) Higher Ground.”

• Kathy Bates, best supporting actress nominee, Richard Jewell — “I am very proud of this film and it was truly an honor to work with the legendary Clint Eastwood on bringing the truth of Richard Jewell to light… My hope is that this film brings the justice and peace Richard and Bobi Jewell deserve by shining a light on their story and his heroism.”

• Amy Pascal, producer of best picture nominee, Little Women — “We are profoundly overwhelmed and honored to have received all these nominations from the Academy, and to have made history by being only the third movie ever to be nominated for best picture that’s written, directed and produced exclusively by women. This film is a testament to the brilliance of Greta Gerwig.”

Todd Phillips, best picture, director, adapted screenplay nominee, Joker — “Joker began as an idea, an experiment really — could we take an ‘indie approach’ to a studio film by inverting it into a character study to reflect the world around us? Explore what we’re seeing and feeling in society, from the lack of empathy to the effects of the absence of love.”

• Petra Costa and Joanna Natasegara, best documentary feature nominee, The Edge of Democracy — “In a time where fascism is spreading like an epidemic, we hope this film can help us all understand how crucial it is to protect our democracies. We are at a time where the personal has become utterly political for so many around the world and I believe it is through stories, language and documentaries that civilizations begin to heal.” — Reuters





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