Nominations for the 2021 Golden Globes are still over a month away, but the upcoming ceremony is already at the center of controversy after Variety confirmed Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” is being shut out of the Best Picture race and relegated to the Best Foreign Language Film category. A similar fate befell Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” at the 2020 Golden Globes. Both films were rejected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) from competing in the main Best Picture races because they are predominantly in foreign languages.
News of the “Minari” Best Picture shut out at the 2021 Golden Globes generated outrage on social media from film critics and Hollywood talent such as Wang, Daniel Dae Kim, and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu. As Wang put it in her reaction to the snub, “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.”
Daniel Dae Kim added, “The film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America.”
Several film journalists noted the hypocrisy of the HFPA for shutting out “Minari” for Best Picture while nominating films such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Babel” in the main Best Picture races in the past. Like “Minari,” these films also predominantly featured foreign languages. “Babel” even won the Best Motion Picture Drama prize.
A source close to the Golden Globes confirmed to IndieWire that eligibility rules dictate that any film with at least 50 percent of non-English dialogue goes into the Foreign Language category. Per Globes rules: “Motion picture dramas, musicals or comedies with 50 percent or more English dialogue are eligible for the Best Motion Picture – Drama or Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy awards.” As for “Minari,” the film was submitted into the Best Foreign Language category on November 25 and has remained in the category ever since.
The Globes’ rules shutting out “Minari” from the Best Picture race has been called “racist” and “complete bullshit,” with “Kim’s Convenience” actor Andrew Phung adding, “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.”
“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,” Simu Liu wrote. “What could be more American than that?”
“Minari” won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. While the film will not be eligible for the Globes’ Best Picture prize, actors such as Steven Yeun can still land nominations. The HFPA will announce the 2021 Globe nominees on February 3, 2021. A24 is set to release the film on February 12.
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
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
…and without spoiling anything it is a BEAUTIFUL story of an immigrant family trying to build a life from the ground up.
What could be more American than that?
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) December 23, 2020
(not that it matters but MINARI is also the best “narrative” feature i saw this year. in any language).
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) December 23, 2020
In case you don’t think this is racist, Inglourious Basterds got a Golden Globe nom for Best Picture and is only ~30% in English https://t.co/Ptz4OEbxhR
— Jacob Oller (@JacobOller) December 23, 2020
Don’t even get me STARTED on Babel
— Jacob Oller (@JacobOller) December 23, 2020
Minari is the most/best American movie I saw this year. This is complete bullshit. https://t.co/Raufj2QtMG
— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) 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
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
This is racist.
It was made by Americans.
It was shot and set in Arkansas. https://t.co/jt1NWcdTEP
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) December 23, 2020
Not surprising. As a 4th generation American of Asian descent I still have to explain to people that my books are not the same as Japanese manga. (Amulet is not even published in Japan) As long as you look a certain way, you will always be considered a visitor in your own home. https://t.co/dkdP8LOiYf
— Kazu Kibuishi (@boltcity) December 23, 2020