News that the critically acclaimed film "Minari" will compete in the foreign-language film category for the 2021 Golden Globes has stirred backlash on social media.
The award-winning movie starring Steven Yeun, which follows a Korean-American family's quest for the American dream in rural Arkansas, will not be competing in the best picture categories because it's considered a foreign language film, which is defined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as having "at least 51% non-English dialogue."
According to the Golden Globes website: films submitted for the foreign language award also qualify "for awards in all other motion picture categories except Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, which are exclusively for English language motion pictures." The HFPA reviews their rules every spring.
Though "Minari," set to be released by A24 on Feb. 12, is primarily in Korean, several film journalists and actors have pointed out that other non-English films, such as "Inglourious Basterds" and "Babel," have been nominated for best picture without meeting the language requirements, with the latter winning best drama.
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USA TODAY has reached out to the HFPA and A24 for comment.
Let us not forget that Inglorious Basterds was mostly not in English and was not classified the same way. https://t.co/HjMktWUV8F
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) December 23, 2020
As others have pointed out: The Golden Globes rejecting #Minari for Best Picture because it's mostly in Korean IS LUDICROUS when "Inglourious Basterds" got Best Pic nom and "Babel" won Best Pic. Make it make sense? More here: https://t.co/SpY5JDT75Q pic.twitter.com/EmBIoHZ1Sa
— Zack Sharf (@ZSharf) December 23, 2020
Last year, director Lulu Wang's 2019 movie "The Farewell" was similarly shut out of the best picture race for its mostly Mandarin dialogue.
"I have not seen a more American film than #Minari," Wang tweeted on Tuesday. "It's a story about an immigrant family, IN America, pursuing the American dream."
She also urged the HFPA "to change these antiquated rules that characterizes American as only English-speaking."
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 characterizes American as only English-speaking. https://t.co/1NZbkJFE9v
— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) December 23, 2020
Other Hollywood talents, such as "Shang Chi" star Simu Liu, have also reiterated the American identity of the film.
"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," Liu wrote.
Just for the record, 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 👀 https://t.co/6fbI7ppBPB
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) December 23, 2020
Daniel Dae Kim labeled the snub as "the film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America," while "Kim's Convenience" star Andrew Phung called it "sad and disappointing."
The film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America. https://t.co/kwEf8eO9v8
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) December 23, 2020
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. #Minari https://t.co/u8VVfp0Sf4
— Andrew Phung (@andrewphung) December 23, 2020
"Minari" was arguably the biggest critical sensation at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film snagged the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize and the dramatic audience award, voted on by festival audiences. It's produced by Plan B, with Brad Pitt as an executive producer.
The 2021 Golden Globes will be held Feb. 28. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were previously announced to return to host the televised ceremony.
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Contributing: Andrea Mandell and The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Minari': Golden Globes backlash builds over foreign film category