South Koreans An, Im revel in success of 'Parasite' at Oscars
February 12, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Byeong Hun An and Sungjae Im were both thrilled to see the success of 'Parasite' at the Academy Awards. (Getty Images)
Truth be told, Ben An figured “Joker” would probably win the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday night.
After all, a non-English-language film like “Parasite” had never claimed the top prize at the Academy Awards. But as the Korean film kept racking up those coveted gold statuettes, An and his wife Jamie, who were watching the telecast from their Orlando home, got more and more excited.
Best Original Screenplay came first. Then, Best International Feature Film.
When Bong Joon-ho beat out the legendary Martin Scorsese and the quirky Quentin Tarantino, among others, for Best Director, An pulled out his phone to take pictures of the winner on the TV screen, which he gleefully posted on his Instagram account.
“Chills,” the 28-year-old from Seoul wrote.
After Joaquin Phoenix picked up the Oscar for Best Actor and Renee Zellweger won for Best Actress, it was time for Best Picture. An was beyond thrilled when “Parasite” made history.
“I thought maybe, but ...” the former U.S. Amateur champ posted with another screen shot, this time of the film’s entire entourage celebrating on the Dolby Theater stage, adding “#doyouknowparasite” at the bottom.
The magnitude of the movie’s win – heralded with the headline “Can you believe that ‘Parasite’ won the Academy best picture?” in South Korea’s largest newspaper -- was not lost on An.
“I think it's a big step forward because no one has, no one's done this before,” An said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “And that's why we were so high in Korea and we're so surprised about this. It's like, it's like winning a major; it was the first Asian to win a major -- that kind of feeling.”
Sungjae Im, who is from Jeju, South Korea, is in Los Angeles this week to play in The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, located about 20 miles from the theater where the Academy Awards was held. Like An, he’s seen the movie, which he called “very creative.”
“The plot is about one family conning another wealthier family to survive and it’s brilliant,” Im said through a translator on Tuesday. “It’s very different from other movies I’ve watched.”
The 21-year-old Im, who, like An, was one of Ernie Els’ picks for the International Team at last year’s Presidents Cup, says the film’s success on Sunday night was “phenomenal.
“As a Korean-language movie, it must’ve been so difficult to win all those awards, but for them to win four is absolutely amazing,” he says. “It made me really proud to be Korean.”
While he says “Parasite” is his new favorite movie, An says his taste in film generally runs more toward those in the Marvel universe. He was a big “Batman” fan as a kid, and more recently has enjoyed the “Iron Man” series.
But An was drawn toward “Parasite,” which he has seen twice – first on his computer and again on the plane heading to Australia to join Im at their Presidents Cup debut. Central to the satire on class discrimination in the movie are the two very different Korean families and how their lives intertwine.
“I'd say it gives you a lot of things to think about because it's strong,” he says. “This is mostly talking about the rich and poor and tells you about how they made it. It's hard to describe. It’s a very well-made movie because every scene means something.
“And I tried to look at it online because when you, watch it for a first time, you don't get 100 percent of what a director is trying to tell you. So, I tried to search it online to see what all the scenes mean, and what the picture says. ...
“I've totally spent probably equal times to the movie time, like online, just finding out what they all mean all together.”
But as much as he enjoyed following the success of “Parasite” – from the Cannes Film Festival, where it was the first Korean film to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or, to Sunday’s Oscars -- don’t expect An to join the staff of Rotten Tomatoes anytime soon.
“My job is to play golf, not be a critic,” he says with a chuckle.