The Hollywood Foreign Press Association often differs with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when it comes to films not in the English language. Case in point this year, two titles not eligible in the International Feature Oscar race made the cut with the Golden Globes this morning as both Italy’s The Life Ahead and A24’s Korean-American family drama Minari scored nominations in the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language category. As a U.S. production, Minari does not qualify for the Oscars’ similar category, but can compete in all others there.
The status of Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari as a Foreign Language title at the Globes rendered it eligible in all other races save Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Motion Picture – Animated. Still, despite accolades for stars Steven Yuen and Youn Yuh-jung, they were not recognized today. Minari was named a Movie of the Year by AFI and has won over 50 prizes from film critics associations and festivals since debuting at Sundance in 2020, but it only scored one Globe nomination today.
The tale of a Korean-American family who moves to a small Arkansas farm on a quest for the American Dream has a great many supporters who were nevertheless outraged when it landed in the Foreign Language Globes race, thus knocking it out of the top categories. Eligibility rules state that any film with at least 50% non-English dialogue goes into the Foreign Language category.
While much of Minari is in Korean, filmmakers and fans in December pointed out how American the story is. At the time, Daniel Dae Kim tweeted that Minari being in the Best Foreign Film category was the “film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America.” This morning, Twitter is waking up Stateside with a number of people returning to the subject.
Also turning up on the Globes roster is The Life Ahead, Netlix’s Sophia Loren-starrer that’s directed by her son Edoardo Ponti. Italy did nt submit it as its representative for the Oscars, rather opting for Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary Notturno. The Globes nom is a nice bit of recognition for the well-received drama, but bittersweet with icon Loren left off the Best Actress list.
As for the rest of the field of five, they are indeed contenders to make the Oscar International Feature shortlist which will be revealed Tuesday. They include Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona, a mix of folklore, magical realism and horror that brings attention to the genocide of native Mayans in 1980s Guatemala. This is the first-ever Globe nomination for Guatemala. Bustamante tells me “You know, this period is so weird and to have this kind of news is so great. My team and I were drinking champagne at 8AM!” That this is the first film from Guatemala to score a Globe nomination is “an historic fact, not only for Guatemala, but for Central America. It’s the first time a film has this kind of exposure. We make four films a year, so it’s important to have the film in the Golden Globes. And, it’s not only for the country, but it’s proof that the industry is changing and becoming more inclusive. We can feel change about Latin American movies these last years.”
Thomas Vinterberg’s lauded Danish entry, Another Round, which stars Mads Mikkelsen and swept the European Film Awards in December, is also a Globe nominee. Said Mikkelsen today, “Thomas has made his most beautiful film to date at the most difficult time of his life, and this nomination brings joy in hearts and especially Thomas’.” Vinterberg added, “It’s an honor that a film about embracing life should be embraced by (the HFPA) in this trying year.”
And, finally, France’s Oscar entry, Two Of Us, made the Globes roster. From director Filippo Meneghetti, the unconventional love story between two aging women will be released in the U.S. on Friday via Magnolia. Meneghetti told me today, “I’m very touched. It’s a great honor and incredible news. I never thought my first film could go so far, it’s a huge gift. I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on behalf of everyone involved. We put everything in that we could to do the film.”