Golden Globes 2021

Asian-American film-makers slam treatment of Minari

American film Minari features an Asian-American cast, with actor Steven Yeun (above) in the lead role.
American film Minari features an Asian-American cast, with actor Steven Yeun (above) in the lead role.

LOS ANGELES • Asian-American film-makers last week expressed dismay that the American movie, Minari, will compete for honours at next year's Golden Globes in the foreign language category, instead of the higher-profile best drama field.

Minari, the story of a Korean family that moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s, won the top prize at the Sundance film festival earlier this year and is expected to be a strong contender in the awards season next year.

Its main cast and director are Asian-Americans and the dialogue is predominantly in Korean.

However, under longstanding rules drawn up by the organisers of the Golden Globes, contenders for its best drama award must feature dialogue that is at least 50 per cent in English.

Lulu Wang, the Chinese-American director of The Farewell (2019), tweeted: "It's a story about an immigrant family, in America, pursuing the American dream. We really need to change these antiquated rules that characterises American as only English-speaking."

Former Hawaii Five-0 (2010 to 2020) actor Daniel Dae Kim said on Twitter that the rule felt like "the film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America".

Mr Jacob Oller, who covers movies at Paste Magazine, was among some who called the rules racist.

Nominations for the Golden Globes will be announced in February next year.

The Oscars have different rules, allowing South Korean drama-satire Parasite (2019) to become the first foreign-language film to win the coveted Academy Award for best picture in February this year.

Parasite was excluded from the best drama race at the Golden Globes in January, but won in the foreign language field.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose members from publications around the world choose the Golden Globe nominees and winners, declined to comment.

The cast and director of Minari also could not be reached for comment.

Hollywood has made efforts to increase diversity behind and in front of the camera and at award shows since 2016, when all 20 Oscar-nominated actors were white for the second straight year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2020, with the headline 'Asian-American film-makers slam treatment of Minari'. Subscribe