SEOUL -- South Korea erupted with joy after Bong Joon-ho's film "Parasite" upset the odds to win the best picture award at the Oscars, becoming the first non-English language movie to take top prize.
Media websites flashed the news and social media was awash with messages celebrating the victory of the film that portrays the harsh disparities in South Korean society with humor. Other posts trumpeted the growing soft power of a nation that is known for its globally successful K-pop industry.
The movie also picked up the top prize in the director, screenplay and international feature categories.
President Moon Jae-in asked his staff to applaud Bong before a meeting on Monday afternoon.
"'Parasite' moved the people in the world with the very Korean story," Moon said. "It is funny as well as sad. It is new, excellent and successful in terms of sending a social message."
Some movie fans appreciated that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences picked a movie that highlighted some of the problems of capitalism.
"I was so happy to see 'Parasite' won. It is a great work, and painted the gap between the rich and the poor very well," said Lim Soo-hyang, a student at Handong International Law School in Pohang. "I am so proud of Director Bong and his award ceremony speech was just perfect."
Bong attributed his success to his wife and actors, adding that he will "drink until next morning." He also mentioned the influence of American directors such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino on his work.
Nam Dong-chul, a senior programmer at Busan International Film Festival, said it was "very surprising" that the Academy gave a non-English film the best picture and three other awards.
"It shows that the Academy is opening its door to the international films," Nam said. "It will also help boost Korean films' status as this event is being watched all over the world."
One movie fan posted on that Naver news site: "I never expected that I could hear Korean [on the Oscar stage.] Congratulations to Director Bong Joon-ho! I am so glad"
Harry Harris, the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, posted a message on Twitter congratulating Bong and showing him eating a bowl of Korean noodles with beef.
In the film, a housemaid cooks the cheap noodle dish with top-grade beef for a rich housewife -- a metaphor for the gap between rich and poor.