Golden Globes Facing Backlash for Keeping 'Minari' Out of Best Picture Race Over Foreign Language Categorization

Citing some classification nonsense, the Globes team will not consider the Steven Yeun-starring drama in the main categories, prompting widespread backlash.

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Minari, Lee Isaac Chung's widely acclaimed semi-autobiographical A24 drama that bagged the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January, will be considered in foreign language film categories for the upcoming Golden Globe Awards.

This means, of course, that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (as they previously did with last year's The Farewell) has barred the drama from being nominated in the main Best Picture categories. As Varietyreported in an exclusive update earlier this week, Minari will instead be considered for foreign language film honors "because it is primarily in Korean." Stars Steven Yeun and Yeri Han, however, remain eligible for inclusion in the leading actor and actress categories. 

Dear @goldenglobes: Please change your name to “Golden Only For English Speaking People,” because that would be more accurate. #Minari is an American movie about a Korean American family in Arkansas. Why does a best picture have to be in English? Globe is in your name. Get it?

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 23, 2020

The decision to keep Minari out of Best Picture categories has been met with widespread condemnation, including from The Farewell writer and director Lulu Wang.

"I have not seen a more American film than Minari this year," she said. "It's a story about an immigrant family, IN American, pursuing the American dream. We really need 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.

— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) December 23, 2020

Many echoed this takeaway from the Globes decision, expressing confusion and anger over a movie that's notably set in '80s era Arkansas:

an intrinsically american film about people in america navigating what it means to be american while surrounded by a bunch of other americans in real deep america. but far be it for me to question a sacred institution that's about to nominate THE PROM for Best Picture.

— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) 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

I legit did some reading on Manifest Destiny prior to interviewing Lee Isaac Chung about this movie. This is absurd.

— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) December 23, 2020


hollywood foreign press association:

— William Yu 유규호 (@its_willyu) December 23, 2020

#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.

— Min Jin Lee (@minjinlee11) 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

— Andrew Phung (@andrewphung) December 23, 2020

Checks “Inglorious Bastards” English to German, French & Italian ratio—-roughly 30:70 😐 #Minari is an American film.

— Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) December 23, 2020

Don’t worry, we’ve long realized white Americans view us as perpetual others, foreign, strange, exotic. Not from here. Except there are many Asian Americans who have been here for generations, not that that should matter.

— Cindy PikaChu ✨朱良蒨 (she/her) 🌸✨ (@iamcindychu) December 23, 2020

#GoldenGlobes, stop automatically categorizing films depicting languages other than English “foreign language films”! I grew up in an immigrant household where I spoke more Mandarin than English and we are Americans! CA has the lowest rates of English use at home (56%)!

— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) December 23, 2020

Minari, which kicked off a limited release this month, goes wide in February. The family drama has already been met with glowing reviews and a number of awards, including the aforementioned Sundance prize and honors from the Denver Film Festival, the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, and more.

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