For the second year in a row, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has given its Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film to a movie (predominantly) in Korean. However, the twist this time around is that 2021 winner Minari is a wholly U.S. production (as opposed to last year’s laureate Parasite).
Minari, an A24 title that’s written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, is produced by Plan B Entertainment and ended up in the Golden Globes’ Foreign Language race owing to HFPA rules which state that any film with at least 50% non-English dialogue goes into that category. This rendered it ineligible in tonight’s Best Picture fields. Conversely, Minari does not qualify for the Oscars’ International Feature category, but can compete in all others there.
Chung, with his toddler daughter clinging to his neck as she exclaimed, “I prayed, I prayed!,” made a slight reference to the language issue in his remote acceptance speech Sunday night. Minari, he said, “is about a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language; it’s a language of the heart. I’m trying to learn it myself and to pass it on, and I hope we’ll all learn how to speak this language of love to each other, especially this year.”
The tale of a Korean-American family who moves to a small Arkansas farm on a quest for the American Dream was previously 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. Supporters were outraged when it landed in the Foreign Language Globes race, thus knocking it out of contention in the top categories. While much of Minari is in Korean, filmmakers and fans in December pointed out how American the story is.
The Foreign Language nod was Minari’s only nomination at the Globes tonight, while it is up for major prizes at the SAG Awards and is expected to pick up further mentions when the Oscars announce their nominations March 15.
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 and this year’s Globe win for Minari provides no indication for the International Feature Oscar race since Minari won’t be a factor there. The film tonight beat out Netflix’s The Life Ahead (which is not eligible for the International Oscar as it was not Italy’s submission to the category) as well as three Oscar-shortlisted titles: Denmark’s Another Round, France’s Two of Us and Guatemala’s La Llorona.
Watch above Chung accepting the Globe with his scene-stealing daughter.