South Korea's status as a cultural juggernaut just got a serious shot of international credibility.

"Parasite," a dark comedy about the divisions of wealth and class, became the first foreign-language film in history to win the coveted Oscar for best film. The movie — made for $11 million by Seoul-based Barunson Entertainment & Arts Corp. — beat out Hollywood competitors made for nine times as much.

The win, which ignited celebrations online in South Korea, could mark a watershed moment for an entertainment industry that's become a key form of soft power for the Asian nation with the explosion of K-pop and Korean dramas. Cultural exports are also becoming more vital to South Korea's economy, which is pivoting away from the manufacturing-focused industries that helped it emerge from the ruins of the Korean War.