This year, the annual Golden Globe Awards looked a little different. From being the first bi-coastal ceremony with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to celebrities attending a virtual red carpet, and to acceptance speeches be broadcasted from laptops, there were many firsts. Nevertheless, the show went on and the breakout film, “Minari,” took home gold.
Written and directed by Colorado-born Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” depicts a Korean-American family that moves from California to an Arkansas farm in the 1980s to begin a new life in search of their American dream. This tender and emotional film stars Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho and Scott Haze, with Yuh-Jung Youn and Will Patton.
“Minari” is a memorable story capturing the core roots of family and what makes a home, home. Chung drew inspiration from his own coming-of-age experiences he had growing up on a farm for the film—experiences that have touched many hearts.
“I’ve seen people who aren’t Korean immigrants work on this film and also feel choked up and feel emotional about it because they remember their own families,” said Chung in an interview with NPR. “Immigration stories are family stories…What often gets overlooked in that story is the fact that a lot of that is happening due to the feeling of love, that feeling of a desire to sacrifice for each other. “
The film took home the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film. In Chung’s acceptance speech he was hugging his daughter and noted, “This one here, she’s the reason I made this film.”
“Minari” has also been awarded the grand jury prize and U.S. dramatic audience award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It has picked up various nominations for future award shows such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards, two ceremonies that help predict what the Academy Awards may look like. The official list of Oscar nominations will be released on March 15, 2021.
However, it is important to add that there has been some controversy surrounding the film and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the body that chooses the winners at the Golden Globes.
In “Minari” the characters mostly speak Korean, which meant that the film could only be entered in the best foreign-language category and none of the best picture categories since it did not meet the HFPA requirement of 50 percent English dialogue, even though Chung is an American director and that “Minari” was filmed in the United States, along with being produced and financed by American companies. It should be noted that A24, the film’s distributor, submitted “Minari” for the best foreign-language film category.
Questions have risen regarding this classification as Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds” did not meet the language requirement, but was given a nomination for best picture.
Lulu Wang, writer and director of “The Farewell,” (a film that experienced something similar to this last year) tweeted out, “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 characterize Americans as only English-speaking.”
“Maybe the positive side of all of this is that we’ve made a film that challenges some of those existing categories, and adds to the idea that an American film might look and sound very differently from what we’re used to,” said Chung in an interview with The New York Times. “It’s hard to say, ‘I demand a seat at a table for best picture.’”
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