"I have not seen a more American film than Minari this year. It is a story about an immigrant family, In America, pursuing the American dream. We really need to change these antiqued rules that characterize Americans as only English-speaking," said Lulu Wang, the director of 'The Farewell.'
Controversy has been brewing as the movie 'Minari' written and directed by Korean-American director, Lee Isaac Chung, based on his autobiographical experience, was excluded from 'Best Picture' and considered only in 'Foreign Language Film' at the Golden Globes this year.
Many argue that the movie starring Steven Yeun and Yeri Han depicts the "American Dream" story and is racial discrimination for it to be removed from the candidates of Best Picture.
According to the U.S. media outlet 'Variety,' 'Minari' was submitted under the foreign-language film category of next year's award ceremony under the regulations of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). HFPA currently classifies films with more than 50% of the movie in a foreign language other than English as a foreign film. Korean is mainly used in the film 'Minari,' which depicts a family of Korean immigrants in rural Arkansas in the 1980s. Therefore, the U.S. production company, A24, was forced to submit the film as a Foreign Language Film as the film was rejected by the HFPA for the Best Picture nomination.
Unfortunately, a film submitted as a foreign-language film award cannot be a candidate for the 'Best Film.' Last year, 'The Farewell,' directed by Chinese-American director Lulu Wang, also had to be classified as a Foreign Language Film and had to be satisfied with Awkwafina winning the Best Actress Award. At that time, The Foreign Language Film Award went to 'Parasite,' directed by director Bong Joon Ho.
As the announcement of the candidates was released, many filmmakers, in addition to director Lulu Wang, have been posting criticisms against the Golden Globes. Actor Andrew Phung wrote on his Twitter, "A sad and disappointing reminder that a movie about the American dream, set in America, starring an American, directed by an American, and produced by an American company is somehow foreign." While Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim wrote, "The film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America." Likewise, many individuals in the film industry are raising their voices criticizing the award ceremony's standards.
Some pointed out that Golden Globes have a double standard. Variety pointed out that the films 'Babel' and 'Inglourious Basterds' were nominated for the Golden Globe's Best Picture despite English being used in only a small portion of the films. Even the film 'Babel' was able to take home Best Picture back in 2006. However, these films featured well-known Hollywood actors such as Brad Pitt. 'Minari' had a higher-usage percentage of English than both of these films. Jacob Oller, a film reporter for a U.S. pop culture magazine, criticized the Golden Globes for being racist.
The Golden Globes is one of the two biggest film award ceremonies in the U.S. and takes place before the Academy Awards. However, for the Oscars, films that have been nominated for the best foreign-language award can also be a candidate for the Best Picture awards, unlike the Golden Globes. This year, director Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' won four awards at the Oscars, including the best foreign-language film and the Best Picture.
'Minari' is an American film produced by Brad Pitt's production company, A24, with Steven Yeun and Brad Pitt as the main producers for the film. Many Korean actors such as Yeri Han and Yuh Jung Yoon appear in the film as the film has received much praise. 'Minari' has already won the U.S Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.