Would you rather be defined by your language or geography?
Films like Parasite, The Farewell, and Lingua Franca have recently made strides for Asian representation in western media. They have paved the way for more inclusive and diverse stories. Now with award show season approaching, film enthusiasts are keeping an eye on those in the running. A strong contender is A24’s ‘Minari,’ winner of Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Unfortunately, the film has become the subject of this year’s award show outrage.
Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, ‘Minari’ is about a Korean-American family in the 1980s that moves to rural Arkansas to start a farm in the hopes of a better life. The Golden Globes announced that it will not be allowed to compete in its Best Picture categories, but will be under Foreign Language Film — because it features too much Korean dialogue. This sparked an outrage among the film industry as many believed that the drama deserved to be put in a higher-profile category. Although the film is set in America, directed by an American, and produced by an American company, ‘Minari’ will be sidelined due to a small technicality.
According to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, to be considered for Best Picture the film must feature at least 50% English dialogue. For reference, Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ was also shunned from the same category last year despite its critical acclaim and history-making Academy win. Filmmaker Lulu Wang, and actor Daniel Dae Kim took to Twitter to express their stand on the controversial rule.
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
What makes it most baffling is the fact that in 2009, Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’ did not receive the same treatment even though approximately 70% of its dialogue was in German, French, and Italian.
One thing’s for sure, these guidelines are unfair and outdated. Although accolades should not determine the worth of one’s narrative, these award shows give filmmakers and actors a bigger platform to be heard. While the Golden Globes continue to put up barriers, they are discrediting the experiences of diverse storytellers.
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