The Korea Herald


Golden Globes’ ‘Minari’ snub draws racial discrimination controversy

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 25, 2020 - 15:00

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Youn Yuh-jung appears in “Minari” (Pan Cinema) Youn Yuh-jung appears in “Minari” (Pan Cinema)

Voices of criticism rose in Hollywood concerning the Golden Globes refusal to consider “Minari” for the main film categories because of its heavy use of Korean dialogue.

The film by Korean-American director Lee Issac Chung depicts a story of a first-generation Korean immigrant family in pursuit of the American dream based in Middle America in the 1980s.

“Minari,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, has been seen as a strong contender for the Oscars, earning recognition across numerous film festivals.

However, it is not being considered for best drama category at the Golden Globes, one of the most prestigious film events in the world.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in charge of the running the annual film event said that “Minari” could not be nominated for the award because it requires at least 50 percent of the dialogue to be in English.

It has instead put it under the best foreign language film section.

The decision has sparked criticism among Hollywood and non-Hollywood figures.

“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 American as only English-speaking,” Chinse-American director Lulu Wang wrote on her social media account.

Wang’s film “The Farewell” received similar treatment last year, when it was deemed to be ineligible for best musical/comedy at the Golden Globes because it was mostly in Chinese.

Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim, widely recognized for his appearance in the hit TV series “Lost” tweeted that it was the “film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America.”

Contrary to how “Minari” could not be nominated for the best drama award, Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” in 2009 and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel” in 2006 were not slotted into best foreign language film, though they heavily feature foreign languages.

Lee Min-jin, author of award-winning novel “Pachinko,” which also depicts the Korean diaspora -- wrote on her social media, “‘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.”

By Im Eun-byel (