It may have seemed like the 2020 Oscars were over.
Parasite co-producer Kwak Sin Ae had finished her acceptance speech after the South Korean film pulled off the astounding feat of winning Best Picture on top of Best International Film and Best Director, a first in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards. The camera had returned to presenter Jane Fonda, off to the side of the stage, ready to close out a show that had already run long. And the lights on the cast and crew of Parasite who'd assembled on stage had been dimmed.
And yet, no one was quite ready to let that be the end of things just yet.
As a figure from the Bong Hive (named for director Bong Joon Ho) on stage made her way to the microphone, hoping to speak before the lights were dimmed and the mic was cut, the crowd in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the ceremony was held on Sunday, Feb. 9, would simply not let the night end without the history-making moment end on its own terms.
As Fonda stood frozen, unsure exactly what to do, the crowd grew loud, chanting, "Up! Up! Up!" and waving their arms wildly, demanding the lights be brought back up on center stage.
And that's when Miky Lee, the vice chair of Korean conglomerate CJ Group and woman responsible for putting much of her country's cultural output on the global map, took the mic and began to make one of the most endearing speeches in Oscars history.
"Hi, everybody. I'd really like to thank director Bong. I like everything about him. His smile, his crazy hair. The way he talks. The way he walks. And especially the way he directs. And what I really like about him is his sense of humor and he can be really making fun of himself and he never takes himself seriously. Thank you. Thank you very much," she began. "And I'd like to thank everybody who has been supporting Parasite and who has been working with Parasite and who has been loving Parasite.
She continued, "And especially I really, really, really want to thank our Korean film audience, our moviegoers, who has been really supporting all our movies and never hesitated to give us straight-forward opinion...And that made us really never be able to be complacent and keep pushing the directors, the creators, keep pushing the envelopes and without you, our Korean film audience, we are not here. Thank you very much."
Congrats to Parasite on its history-making night!