Oscar viewers were treated to a historical moment this year when Bong Joon Ho and his “Parasite” cast took the stage at the Dolby Theater to accept the Academy Award for Best Picture, marking the first time a foreign-language film won the top Oscar prize. “Parasite” cast members Song Kang-ho, Park So-dam, and Lee Sun-kyun were all in attendance at the Oscars, but one part of the ensemble who was not on stage was 10-year-old child actor Jeong Hyeon-jun. Jeong was watching the Oscars from home in South Korea, and fortunately Jeong’s family members recorded him losing his mind as “Parasite” earned one history-making Oscar win after another.
“I thought it would be awesome to get it, and we actually won the award!” Jeong told the Associated Press in a video interview from home the day of the Oscars. “So I am wondering if I am in heaven. I think I was born to receive an Oscar.”
“Parasite” marked the first time a South Korean feature film competed for Academy Awards, and the drama was nominated in six categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing. The movie dominated the ceremony by winning the first four aforementioned categories, giving South Korea its first-ever Oscar wins for a feature and breaking through an Oscars glass ceiling. Jeong was too young to make the trip to Hollywood, but it’s clear from the videos below he shared in the world’s excitement over “Parasite’s'” victories.
For Jeong, “Parasite” was his first foray into acting in feature films. Prior to his experience working with Bong, Jeong got his start as an actor on South Korean television series such as “You Are Too Much,” “Through the Waves,” “At Eighteen,” and “Vagabond.” As part of the “Parasite” cast, Jeong received the Screen Actors Guild awards this year for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Watch Jeon flip out over the “Parasite” Oscar wins below.
PARASITE PARTY: 10-year-old #Parasite #기생충 star Jung Hyeon-jun might have been too young to go to the #Oscars — but he still enjoyed the excitement of the best picture win. #AcademyAwards pic.twitter.com/sbn71fJ44z
— AP Entertainment @APEntertainment February 18, 2020
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.