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Oscars: Parasite is first foreign language film in 92 years to win best picture

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Bong Joon Ho, right, reacts as he is presented with the award for best picture for "Parasite" from presenter Jane Fonda at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.
Bong Joon Ho, right, reacts as he is presented with the award for best picture for "Parasite" from presenter Jane Fonda at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Chris Pizzello   -   Chris Pizzello
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Bong Joon Ho was celebrating a sweep of awards at the Oscars in Hollywood on Sunday night, as his hit movie Parasite won best picture, best original screenplay and best international feature.

Bong, 50, also took the award for best director, seeing off competition from Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes.

In his speech, the director said: “I am ready to drink tonight,” when he won the first award. By the time he has taken to the stage after winning best director, he said: “Now I'm ready to drink until tomorrow.”

Parasite, a satire on class and wealth in Bong's native South Korea, is the first non-English language film to win the best picture award in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.

The Academy Awards has traditionally kept international movies in their own categories, leading to criticism that the institution is too Western- and English-language focused.

"Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many amazing films," Bong told an audience at the Golden Globes in January.

Elsewhere, Brad Pitt won the Oscar for best-supporting actor for his role in Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Sam Mendes won three awards for his World War I film 1917.

Joaquin Phoenix, who won best actor for his role in Joker, gave an emotional acceptance speech which covered issues ranging from sexism in the film industry to climate change.

“I've been a scoundrel in my life. I've been selfish, I've been cruel at times and hard to work with. But so many of you in this room have given me a second chance,” he said.

Quoting a lyric of his brother, River Phoenix, who died in 1993, he concluded: “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow."

As well as Bong's sweep of awards at the Oscars, New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. Watiti won "best-adapted screenplay" for the World War II comedy "Jojo Rabbit".

He dedicated the award to “all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories.”

But criticisms remain over the Academy Award's over a lack of diversity - not least the fact that the best director nominees in 2020 were all men.

Actor Natalie Portman wore a cape lined with the names of female filmmakers who weren't nominated for their direction, including Lulu Wang ("The Farewell"), Greta Gerwig ("Little Women") and Mati Diop ("Atlantics").