South Korean director Bong Joon-ho after winning the Golden Globe award for Parasite in Beverly Hills. Photo: AFP / Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Parasite fever has proved infectious after South Korea’s black satire won the Golden Globe for the best foreign film.

Director Bong Joon-ho’s intensely dark comic movie of class conflict in the Seoul suburbs walked away with the Palme D’or for best film at Cannes last year and must now be a firm favorite to pick up an Oscar next month.

“Wow, amazing, unbelievable,” Bong said as he accepted the award. “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Parasite was in a particularly strong field which included France’s Les Miserables, Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory, the Chinese-American family drama The Farewell and French production of Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

“Just being nominated along with fellow amazing international filmmakers was a huge honor. I think we use only one language: the cinema,” Bong said with the help of his translator, Sharon Choi.

It was certainly another epic night for the “cinema” at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

War odyssey 1917

War odyssey 1917 claimed the top prize for best drama film while Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood won the comedy category, boosting their prospects for the Oscars.

“Once Upon a Time …” – a homage to 1960s Tinseltown – won the most awards on the night with three prizes, while Martin Scorsese’s much-vaunted Netflix crime saga The Irishman went home empty-handed.

The Globes are the first major awards gala of the year, in a packed season that ends with Oscars in just over a month’s time, so Sunday’s winners will hope to capitalize on some much-needed momentum.

1917 follows two British soldiers through the trenches in World War I and is filmed to look like one continuous, two-hour-long shot.

“Goodness me, that is a big surprise,” Director Sam Mendes said after beating Scorsese and Tarantino in a star-studded sector.

“Can I just say there’s not one director in this room, not one director in the world that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese? I just have to say that,” he added to loud applause.

Tarantino won the best screenplay award, and Brad Pitt took home the best supporting actor honors for his role as a loyal stuntman to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the film.

“I also have to thank my partner in crime, LDC,” Pitt said.

“I wouldn’t be here without you, man … I would have shared the raft, though,” he added, referring to the closing scene of Titanic.

“Once Upon a Time …” clearly resonated with the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which doles out the prizes, but other films made their mark.

Best drama actor

Joaquin Phoenix cemented his Oscar frontrunner status by winning the best drama actor prize for his radical turn in Joker, a dark and controversial take on the comic book super-villain.

Phoenix, like several A-listers, used his speech to address climate change and the Australian wildfires, continuing until producers played him off with music.

He also thanked director Todd Phillips, saying: “You convinced me to do this movie and you encouraged me to give everything and to be sincere. And I’m such a pain in the ass.”

Renee Zellweger also burnished her Oscar credentials with an expected win for biopic Judy, portraying legendary Hollywood star Judy Garland in her later years.

“Well hi, everybody. It’s nice to see you. You all look pretty good, 17 years later. Thank you to the HFPA for inviting me back to the family reunion, especially with all these extraordinary ladies this year,” Zellweger said. “Your work moves me, and I’ve been cheering for y’all from theater seats for a long time.”

– reporting by AFP

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