‘Parasite’ Oscar Wins in LA Thrill Nominee’s Mom in Haddon Township

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Kim Hong beams with pride describing the career path of her son, Jin-Mo Yang, from South Korea to Cherry Hill East to working with director Bong Joon Ho.

By Matt Skoufalos | February 14, 2020

92nd Annual Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS.

Parasite shattered a lot of expectations at the 92nd Academy Awards last weekend.

Director Bong Joon-Ho’s film took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and of course, Best Picture of the Year, the first foreign-language film to do so.

But it was Best Achievement in Film Editing—one of the two categories for which Parasite was nominated, yet didn’t win—that Haddon Township’s Kim Hong was following most closely.

That’s because her son, Jinmo Yang, was the nominee.

Yang, who grew up in Korea and the United States, has been a frequent collaborator of Bong, working with the director on films that have found international audiences, like Snowpiercer and Okja.

Although the 2020 Oscar for editing went to Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland of Ford vs. Ferrari, Yang’s work on Parasite netted him a slew of other industry accolades, including the “Eddie” for Best Edited Feature Film from the American Cinema Editors (ACE) professional society.

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Parasite x Jojo Rabbit

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Her son’s achievements are the product of years of hard work, Hong said. When he first came to the United States, Yang “didn’t speak English almost at all,” but his teachers at Cherry Hill East “loved him,” and nurtured his artistic talents, she said. They also pushed him to attend Bard College in New York, which he did.

Yang dreamed of working for Disney someday, but after graduation, decided to return to South Korea. His cinematic career was still finding its footing when he was called upon to serve two years of mandatory military service, Hong said. Once that was completed, “he worked very hard for many years” building his resume, she said.

When Bong picked him for Snowpiercer, that was the start of a fruitful collaboration that led to his current opportunities.

“[Bong]  said, ‘You have to work with me,’” Hong said.

Hong, who has worked at the Westmont 7-11 for more years than she cares to recollect, doesn’t have the opportunity to travel to her homeland to often, and Yang’s career places significant demands on his time. Although they don’t see each other much, she said her son still sends care packages and calls when he can.

The distance between them hasn’t diminished her pride in his achievements, however. Hong’s face lit up describing Yang’s career, and she listed off several highlights of his resume from memory. Hearing his name called out at the Oscars, even as a nominee, was a thrill that she will forever hold close to her heart.

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