Golden Globes slammed for restricting Minari to foreign language categories: ‘Minari is an American film’

Isobel Lewis
·2-min read
Steven Yeun (right) and Alan Kim in Minari (Sundance Institute)
Steven Yeun (right) and Alan Kim in Minari (Sundance Institute)

The Golden Globes has been criticised for its decision to classify Minari as a foreign language film in the 2021 ceremony.

Lee Isaac Chung’s film centres around Jacob (Steven Yeun), a Korean immigrant who moves his family to a small farm in Arkansas in search of the American dream.

The film is predominantly in Korean, with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association stipulating that dialogue must be at least 50 per cent in English in order for a movie to compete in their main categories for Best Drama or Best Comedy/Musical.

Last year Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar Best Picture winner Parasite was also sidelined for this reason.

However, the news of Minari’s exclusion sparked a particular outcry online as many critics pointed out that the film’s story was an explicitly American one.

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute

The Farewell director Lulu Wang tweeted: “I have not seen a more American film than #Minari this year. It’s a story about an immigrant family, IN America, pursuing the American dream.

“We really need to change these antiquated rules that characterises American as only English-speaking.”

Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim said that the rules were “the film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America”.

Glee’s Harry Shum Jr pointed out: “Checks Inglorious Bastards English to German, French & Italian ratio – roughly 30:70 #Minari is an American film.”

Kim’s Convenience star Andrew Phung added: “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.”

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The Independent has contacted the Golden Globes for comment.

Debuting at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Minari was widely praised by audiences and won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards.

Minari is released in UK cinemas on 2 April 2021.

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