Parasite and Bong Joon Ho had a huge night at the Oscars — and so did the director’s translator.
Sharon Choi was onstage several times as Bong and the film racked up wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Film and Best Original Screenplay.
It was a historic night for Parasite, which is the first South Korean film to win an Academy Award in any category — and Choi played an important role in helping the filmmakers deliver their speeches.
While Choi, 25, has been working with Bong all awards season — and has also been with him on the red carpet and in interviews — he clearly keeps her on her toes.
Read more: Gervais criticises political awards speech
For instance, in his Best Director speech, he said to the other nominees, including Martin Scorsese, “If the Academy allows, I would like to get a Texas chainsaw, split the Oscar trophy into five, and share it with all of you.” (Bong does speak English and delivered some of his most memorable lines himself, including, “I will drink until next morning,” but relies on Choi for longer parts.)
In other words, it’s not the typical translator job. And Choi — who also helped accept the Best Picture trophy — has been praised on social media for it, including by the famously hard to impress Piers Morgan.
Sharon Choi is tonight’s unsung hero. World’s best translator.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 10, 2020
the only person having a more epic night than Bong Joon Ho is his translator #Oscars
— shauna (@goldengateblond) February 10, 2020
im gonna miss the translator miss sharon choi pic.twitter.com/Qe4qQwAccq
— live jisoo updates (@acturistic) February 10, 2020
Point of order. I need y’all to give Bong Joon Ho’s translator, Sharon Choi, her flowers for being the MVP of the 2019/20 awards season. Oh, and give her a deal to make the movie she wants to make. #oscars #oscars2020 #Parasite #BongJoonHo #BONGHIVE #SharonChoi pic.twitter.com/Oqv2i5oW3R
— twila “building a podcast empire” dang (@twiladang) February 10, 2020
Backstage, Bong talked a little bit more about Choi. As revealed at the Golden Globes recently, she is an aspiring director who gets embarrassed discussing herself. Still, backstage on Sunday, Bong noted that she’s been hard at work on her own feature film script.
Read more: Parasite explained
“You already know she’s a filmmaker,” Bong said. “And she studied film in the university. Yeah, so I’m so curious about her script. Actually, she’s writing some feature-length script, I’m so curious about it.”
Bong Joon Ho says his translator Sharon Choi is writing a script: "I'm curious about it" pic.twitter.com/SKP7tq0pya
— Variety (@Variety) February 10, 2020
Earlier in the evening during an interview with E! News on the red carpet, Bong said of Choi, “I know she has a huge fandom.”
Then, almost to tease her, he spoke in Korean and she had to translate, “It’s very embarrassing to translate but he said thanks to me this campaign has been a smooth journey. I’m grateful.”
Choi started working with Bong for the Cannes Film Festival in May. He told The Hollywood Reporter in January, “She’s perfect, and we all depend on her.” And while she said in that same interview that she’s “always super anxious,” that’s not evident when she’s by his side — in front of a packed house — and millions more at home. It’s only when he starts talking about her that the translator blushes.
Parasite winning big was a high in the Oscars telecast. Not only was it the first time a South Korean film had won an Oscar in any category, but it’s the first film to receive Academy Awards for both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture. And it’s the first non-English language movie to win Best Picture.