• Your one stop for college news and resources!
Bong Joon-ho Hero

Bong Joon-ho Should be Your New Hero (A Proposal)

Award-winning Korean director and man of the moment Bong Joon-ho dominated headlines earlier this week after claiming four academy awards for his biting class-warfare film Parasite, which made history as the first foreign-language film ever to win best picture.

It’s all well and good to admire Joon-ho for breaking barriers in the film industry, creating beautiful cinematic art and bringing talented Asian actors to our frustratingly white theater screens. But we believe he’s even more than that—a 2020 hero if you will.

Here’s why he should be yours.

Bong Joon-ho stood up to Harvey Weinstein

Women (and some men too, we imagine) around the country are watching Harvey Weinstein on trial right now, seeing the man whose alleged actions were so atrocious they unleashed a storm of accusations and complains about sexual assault and misconduct across the world, hide behind a female lawyer and a walker.

“Is there no one left to champion justice?” Women are wondering, probably.

Bong Joon-ho is!

In an interview with Vulture late last year, the director shared a story about working with Weinstein on his film Snowpiercer, of which Weinstein had bought the distribution rights in 2012. The film is a unique hybrid depicting a class rebellion set in a sci-fi dystopia. It presents as a slick Hollywood action movie, but the themes delve deeper than your modern, omnipresent comic book flick.

Weinstein wanted to cut 25 minutes and to have more action. “It was a doomed encounter,” Joon-ho said. The two men of cinema fought back and forth, with Joon-ho having a hard time deterring Harvey. “Weinstein’s nickname is ‘Harvey Scissorhands,'” he said. He wanted to cut out dialogue and cut a major scene involving gutting a fish. Without these, Joon-ho felt his film would become incoherent.

But finally he came up with an idea. “Harvey hated it. Why fish? We need action!” Bong remembers. “I had a headache in that moment: What do I do? So suddenly, I said, ‘Harvey, this shot means something to me.’”

Oh, Bong? What?” Bong-as-Harvey booms.

“It’s something personal,” Bong replies. “My father was a fisherman. I’m dedicating this shot to my father.”

Weinstein relents immediately: “You should have said something earlier, Bong! Family is the most important. You have the shot.”

“I said, ‘Thank you,’” Bong says, laughing. “It was a f***ing lie. My father was not a fisherman.”

“It was a f***ing lie. My father was not a fisherman.”

He called the Oscars local

Much fuss has been made this awards season about the ascendancy of Parasite. “‘Parasite’ Oscar win raises hopes of new era for Korean film” read one headline, “‘Parasite’ Winning Best Picture is a Powerful Reminder to Americans of the 1 Thing We’re Missing Out On” reads another.

But Bong Joon-ho is almost bored by this coverage. In the same Vulture interview, Joon-ho says as much.

“I ask what he thinks of the fact that no Korean film has ever been nominated for an Oscar despite the country’s outsize influence on cinema in the past two decades,” writes E. Alex Jung.

“It’s a little strange, but it’s not a big deal,” Bong Joon-ho says, shrugging. “The Oscars are not an international film festival. They’re very local.”

“The Oscars are not an international film festival. They’re very local.”

He tries to mostly drink coffee and not meet a lot of people

Stars, they’re not like us, despite what Us Weekly wants us to believe. But Bong Joon-ho might actually be like us.

In an interview with the Telegraph Review, Joon-ho shared that his creative secret is to “try to maintain a very simple lifestyle.”

“Drink coffee, write, and try not to meet a lot of people.”

Honestly, same.

He wondered aloud if Hollywood could read

At the Golden Globes, Parasite won an award for best foreign-language film. Joon-ho graciously accepted the award, saying “Just being nominated along with fellow, amazing international filmmakers was a huge honor. I think we use only one language: the cinema.”

Except actually, we speak many languages in this world. There are in fact roughly 6,500 spoken languages across the planet, although blockbuster films are nearly always in English.

Bong Joon-ho went on to muse on that fact, saying: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

He reacted the same way any of us would have, immediately upon receiving more than one statuette, no matter how iconic those statuettes are

See also: Oscars Diversity Missing From 2020 Ceremony
“Parasite” Makes History at the Oscars

Oscars Diversity Missing From 2020 Ceremony

Even though South Korean film Parasite made history during the 2020 Oscars’ ceremony with a historic four wins, there still was a big issue of Oscars diversity that needed addressing. Parasite took home the biggest award of the night, coming away with “Best Picture.”

This made it the first foreign language film in history to take home the biggest Oscar of the night. Although director, Bong Joon Ho made major waves in history, there was still a lack of women and people of color featured in the categories for the night.

#OscarsSoWhite makes a return

Two years ago we saw the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag make its way into the Twitter-sphere as a direct response to the intense lack of Oscar diversity that we saw in the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony. However, the 2019 ceremony made up for the previous year’s blunder by being one of the most diverse film enthusiasts have seen in years. Rami Malek took Best Supporting Actor, Regina King took Best Supporting Actress, and Mahershala Ali took Best Supporting Actor.

Natalie Portman gets political with gender snubs

Where 2019 made strides into the non-existent Oscars diversity, 2020 lacked diversity in both gender and race. The Best Director category only had men eligible for the prestigious award, which did not go unnoticed by the Internet and actresses alike. In addition to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, we saw the introduction of the #OscarsSoMale trending hashtag because the gender snubs.

Most notably of the night, actress Natalie Portman made a political fashion choice by donning a custom Dior cape with embroidered names of the women who were noticeably left out of the Best Director category. Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), and Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers).

Cynthia Ervio only nominee of color

With the aforementioned lack of gender Oscars diversity aside, there were still a major lack of color amongst the nominees at the Oscars’ ceremony. Out of 20 categories, there was only one nominee of color who was Cynthia Ervio as her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the movie Harriet. Although she had a great performance, the only nominee of color being a portrayal of a slave plays into the trope that the Academy Awards only nominates movies that portray slavery.

In addition, Ervio did not even come away with the honor, making it even more of a failure in diversity for this year’s ceremony. Although Janelle Monae had an amazing opening performance, the Oscars’ still need to improve in future years to reflect the rich diverse art that peppers this world.

Also read: “Parasite” Makes History at the Oscars

“Parasite” Makes History at the Oscars

The 2020 Oscars made history by naming the South Korean film Parasite as best picture—the first non-English language film to take the top prize.

Other honors of the night included Renee Zellweger winning best actress for playing Judy Garland in Judy, Joaquin Phoenix taking best actor for Joker, and Brad Pitt and Laura Dern seizing the supporting acting awards for their roles in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and Marriage Story respectively.

Parasite took home the most awards on Sunday night, winning in four categories: best screenplay, best director, best picture and best international feature film. This was a stunning upset for the film crowd, as most favored World War I epic 1917 for best picture; however, most of its awards came in technical categories.

Nominations controversy

The announcement of the nominations in January provoked a strong online criticism many pointing out yet again that the Oscars favored a very white, very male body of work. Many felt that the omission of Greta Gerwig for Little Women from the best directing list was a snub.

“Congratulations to those men,” said actor Issa Rae, who announced the nominations, summing up the general consensus on Twitter.

Only five women have ever been nominated for best director in the entire history of the Oscars, which dates back 90 years.

It was also felt that the 11 nominations Joker received was in poor taste, in a year when many films showcasing diverse characters and stories were released. Joker ended up taking home two Oscars—one for best leading actor (Joaquin Phoenix) and another for music.

While the nominations still left a lot to be desired, Parasite’s win is indicative of a sea change within the academy and leaves much hope for next year.

Parasite in paradise

Parasite has been sweeping awards season, including bringing home best original screenplay and best foreign-language film at the BAFTAs last week and best director and best foreign-language film at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in January.

The film is a vicious social satire about two families from different classes in Seoul—one who lives in poverty in a basement, and another wealthy family who resides in a large home.

“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” said Director Bong Joon-ho in his acceptance speech for best foreign-language film at the Golden Globes.

Perhaps the Oscars are not quite as “local” as Joon-ho once accused them of being. Or maybe he’s just making local history.

See also: Concert Review: Snoop Dogg Shows Fans in Philly Why He is Still an Icon in Hip Hop
Who’s Nominated for the 2020 Golden Globes?
What HBO’s “Chernobyl” Got Right and Wrong