Behold, the darlings of the 2019–20 award season.
Parasite mania consumed the Oscars this year as Bong Joon-ho’s satirical thriller took home awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best International Feature.
Yet despite the undeniable sweep, the Academy overlooked individual acting performances from the cast, even after the ensemble earned trophies from the SAG Awards and actresses Lee Jeong-eun and Cho Yeo-jeong won acting awards in South Korea’s equivalent of the Oscars. The stars of this chilling social commentary deserve their moment in the spotlight just as much as the A-list ensembles from, say, The Irishman or Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood got. I mean, they were on the red carpets (and walking away with statues) at every award show anyway!
Whether you’re watching Parasite for the first time or still reeling over it, here’s a brief guide of its cast.
Role: Ki-taek, the father of the Kim family. Song previously described his character as “someone who has no backbone at first, is indecisive and ineffectual as a leader of the household.”
You know him from: Song is a longtime collaborator of director Bong’s and has appeared in several of his films including Snowpiercer, The Host, and Memories of Murder. “He’s a genius,” Bong has said of the actor. Song’s other notable appearances include Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and A Taxi Driver.
Role: Ki-woo, the son of the Kim family. He’s ambitious and driven with big aspirations, but has a scrappy approach to pursuing them. He and his sister, Ki-jung, have a close, playful bond.
You know him from: Bong’s 2017 film, Okja, as well as Yeon Sang-ho’s 2016 thriller, Train to Busan, or Kim Tae-yong’s 2014 coming-of-age film, Set Me Free.
Role: Ki-jung, the daughter of the Kim family. She’s a cool girl with a raw artistic talent that plays into her family’s benefit. “When I first received the script, it was as if I wrote all of the lines, so it felt very natural, the role came naturally to me,” Park told Forbes of her character.
You know her from: Films like The Priests (2015) and The Silenced (2015), and the Korean television series Cinderella and the Four Knights (2014).
Role: Chung-sook, the mother of the Kim family. She’s practical, protective, and resourceful, and she knows how to make a killer ram-don.
You know her from: The ongoing TV series Crash Landing on You. She’s also appeared in films like Marine Boy (2009) and If It Snows on Christmas (1998).
Role: Yeon-kyo, mother of the Park family. Extravagant, rich, and blissfully ignorant, she’s a stay-at-home mom who fusses over appearances. “The rich mother dreams of a world that is bright and very fresh,” Bong said of Cho’s character. “But she’s actually trapped in this glass box that she’s made for herself.”
You know her from: Films like The Concubine (2012), The Servant (2010), Obsessed (2014), The Target (2014), and Casa Amor: Exclusive for Ladies (2015); and TV shows including Woman of 9.9 Billion and Ms. Perfect.
Role: Dong-ik (or “Nathan”), the patriarch of the Park family. He’s a powerful and wealthy software developer, and despite his household staff, he has a visceral aversion for working-class people. He and Yeon-kyo share two children: Da-hye (Jung Ji-so) and Da-song (Hyun-jun Jung).
You know him from: Movies like A Hard Day (2014), All About My Wife (2012), and Bad Police (2019); and TV shows like My Mister and My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week. He’ll follow up Parasite with a comedic courtroom series, War of Prosecutors.
Role: Moon-gwang, the housekeeper at the Park residence. She cooks and cleans for the family, and has been working at the house for years. “I remember saying, ‘That’s going to be an interesting and strange film,'” Lee said of being approached for the role.
You know her from: Like Song Kang-ho, Lee has frequently worked with Bong on past projects like Okja and Mother. She also appeared in 2016’s The Wailing, helmed and written by Hong-jin Na.
Role: Director. “This idea of a poor family infiltrating the lives of a rich one is where I first delved in,” the filmmaker said of his process to The Hollywood Reporter. “It was more like putting these characters together in a very controlled environment and then watching the chemical reactions unfold.”
You know him from: Directing films like Snowpiercer, Okja, The Host, Memories of Murder, and Mother. You might also recognize his lovable, pure appearances on Twitter, from photographing his cast like a proud dad to making his Oscar statues kiss the night of his big win.