IN THE ABSENCE Joins Palme d’Or Hit as 1st Ever Korean Films Nominated for Oscars
Several historic firsts for Korean cinema were recorded early in the morning of Monday, January 13 in Los Angeles, as two Korean films landed the first ever Academy Awards nominations for the country to the upcoming 92nd edition of the ceremony. BONG Joon-ho’s PARASITE (2019) was selected in six categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best International Film, while YI Seung-jun’s In the Absence (2018) also secured a nomination for the Best Documentary - Short Subject.
PARASITE (2019), following its already historic Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival last spring and its Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Golden Globes earlier this month, was nominated among nine films for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, while it also picked up a Best International Film nomination. It is the 11th foreign-language film to be nominated for Best Picture, and the sixth film to be nominated for both Best Picture and Best International Film, though no foreign-language film has ever gone on to win the biggest prize of the night.
BONG Joon-ho was also nominated for Best Director, and, along with his co-writer HAN Jin-won (formerly one of BONG’s assistant directors on his 2017 film Okja), for Best Original Screenplay. BONG was a co-winner of the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Director on Sunday, January 12, along with 1917 (2019)’s Sam MENDES, and PARASITE (2019) was previously nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes, though it ultimately lost out to 1917 (2019) and Quentin TARANTINO’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), respectively.
Rounding out PARASITE (2019)’s haul were YANG Jin-mo’s nomination for Best Editing, following his nomination from the American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Awards, and a nomination for Best Production Design, for production designer LEE Ha-jun and set decorator CHO Won-woo.
With six nominations, BONG’s film is tied with Noah BAUMBACH’s Marriage Story (2019), Greta GERWIG’s Little Women (2019) and Taika WAITITI’s Jojo Rabbit (2019), and is behind only 1917 (2019), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)and Martin SCORSESE’s The Irishman (2019), with 10 nominations apiece, and Todd PHILLIPS’ Joker (2019), with 11.
Director YI Seung-jun, who is known for his award-winning feature-length documentary films such as Planet of Snail (2012) and Wind on the Moon (2016), technically beat PARASITE (2019) by a minute to become Korea’s first ever nomination at the Academy Awards, if we are to follow the order of the announcement, as the Best Documentary - Short Subject nominees were revealed just ahead of Best International Film. The Sewol-themed In the Absence (2018) debuted at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2018 and earned a Grand Jury Prize from DOC NYC last year.
Many in Korea will be watching when this year’s 92nd Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles at the Kodak Theater on the evening of February 9.