Stars of the show, from left to right, Jeong-eun Lee, Lee Sun-kyun, and Park So-dam, winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for 'Parasite.' Photo: John Sciulli / Getty Images for Turner /AFP

Wow, the critics just love being infected by Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.

The South Korean black comedy was the big winner at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles overnight by landing the top prize – a historic win which thrusts it into Oscars contention.

Overcoming the language barrier, Parasite won the outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, the Guild’s equivalent of a best film Academy Award.

“I’m a little embarrassed feeling like we’re the parasites of Hollywood now,” joked actor Lee Sun-Kyun.

Director Bong admitted that “it is true that the momentum is building” for the Oscars.

The film, which merges comedy, drama and horror genres, follows a poor family as it infiltrates a wealthier household, and tackles the widening class gulf.

“Although the title is Parasite, I think the film is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” said star Song Kang-ho after collecting the award.

The much-hyped movie had missed out on main prizes at the Golden Globes and Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards.

But Sunday’s win underlines the breakout movie’s extraordinary popularity in Hollywood.

It beat Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.

In contrast to the stunning victory for Parasite, the four Oscars acting favorites all cemented their frontrunner statuses by piling on further trophies.

Joaquin Phoenix won the best actor for Joker, a dark origin story of the Batman villain, adding to his Golden Globe win.

He said he was “standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor Heath Ledger,” who posthumously won an Oscar playing the same character in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

Renee Zellweger continued her relentless awards sweep playing Judy Garland in Judy, which recounts the showbiz legend’s difficult final days.

Zellweger praised her “extraordinary sisters” in the acting community – in a year during which controversy over Hollywood’s female representation has raged.

Oscar’s favorite Brad Pitt added another supporting actor gong for playing an aging stuntman in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

“Let’s be honest, it was a difficult part – a guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn’t get along with his wife,” Pitt said.

“It was a big stretch,” he joked to an audience that included his first wife Jennifer Aniston.

– AFP

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