The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s category guidelines ignited an outcry Tuesday when it was announced that “Minari” would be classified as a foreign language film for Golden Globes voters.
Directors, writers and actors including Lulu Wang, Phil Lord, Celeste Ng and Daniel Dae Kim condemned the organization’s longstanding policy, saying it was time to change the rule.
The HFPA stipulates that unlike the Oscars, the contenders in the Golden Globes’ best drama or comedy/musical categories must feature at least 50% English dialogue.
Just one year ago, Wang’s “The Farewell” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain And Glory” picked up multiple nominations at the Golden Globes but were excluded from consideration for top Globes honors. And despite its history-making Academy win, Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” was sidelined by the HFPA’s guidelines.
While “Parasite” and “Minari” both feature Korean-speaking characters, “Minari” centers on a Korean immigrant family who moves to a small farm in Arkansas and hails from Korean American director Lee Isaac Chung. The film, from A24 and Plan B, stars both Korean and Korean American actors including Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Youn Yuh Jung, Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho.
In response to Variety’s tweet sharing that “Minari” also won’t be competing in the best picture categories, Wang spoke out on HFPA’s “antiquated rules that characterizes American as only English-speaking.” “I have not seen a more American film than ‘Minari’ this year,” she wrote. “It’s a story about an immigrant family, in America, pursuing the American dream.”
“Lost” star Kim also commented on how these guidelines sideline Asian American stories. “The film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America,” he wrote.
“Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu added that “‘Minari’ is an American movie written and directed by an American filmmaker set in America with an American lead actor and produced by an American production company.”
“Glee” actor Harry Shum Jr. tweeted that “Inglourious Basterds,” which features German, French and Italian dialogue, did not receive the same treatment.
The Black List founder Franklin Leonard also wrote, “Let us not forget that ‘Inglourious Basterds’ was mostly not in English and was not classified the same way.”
Writer-director-producer Lord tweeted that the HFPA will have no choice but to change its rules, or risk a Golden Globes boycott.
“Candyman” director Nia DaCosta shared that as a “first-generation American born and raised in New York City, ‘Minari,’ a film about a Korean American family searching for the mercurial and multi-faceted American dream in rural Arkansas, made me feel seen in a way movies rarely do.”
“Little Fires Everywhere” author Ng tweeted, “This is a gorgeous film by an American, about Korean-speaking Americans in America, which would be a strong contender for awards in any category. The idea that only films in English count as ‘American’ is complete bullshit.”
“Pachinko” author Min Jin Lee wrote: “‘Minari’ is an American film about new Americans. Everyone in America except for Indigenous people came from somewhere else by choice or force. The English language is not an indigenous language. Enough of this nonsense about Asian-Americans being permanently foreign. I’m done.”
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