“Minari,” a film directed by a Korean American, won best foreign-language film at the Golden Globe Awards on Monday, following the epic win of “Parasite” last year.
The film, directed by Lee Isaac Chung and starring Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-Jung, and others, is based on a semi-autobiographical tale about a Korean American family trying to fulfill the American dream in rural Arkansas in the 1980s.
The film “Minari” was named best motion picture in a foreign language in a simulated ceremony held in Los Angeles and New York on Sunday evening. Denmark’s “Another Round,” Guatemala’s “La Llorona,” Italy’s “The Life Ahead,” and France’s “Two of Us” were among the other contestants.
“‘Minari’ is about a family. It is a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own,” director Lee, who is a second-generation Korean American himself, said in his acceptance speech. “It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language; it is a language of the heart.”
Chung’s acceptance speech appeared to allude to the debate surrounding the film’s nomination for the foreign-language film award after struggling to fulfill the Golden Globes’ 50 percent English-language criteria.
The Golden Globes and the Hollywood International Press Association were chastised by Hollywood actors and film personalities, including Korean Americans and others of Asian origin, who called the decision discriminatory. According to sources, “Minari” is a US film directed by a US producer, filmed in the US, and funded by US corporations.
It did not qualify for the best picture award because it was submitted for the best foreign-language film awards.
The film has been on a winning streak since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival last year, receiving a slew of awards and nominations in the United States. Youn Yuh-jung, who plays the family’s grandmother in the film, has won several awards for best supporting actress.
“I tried to tell a very personal story with this. I am very surprised at the response,” said director Chung during an online press interview Friday.
“As I reflected on why this film connected with a wide range of audiences, I feel it’s not because it’s about me, about immigrants, about this particular situation socially. I think it has to do with human beings and relationships, I think as we all as people around the world wrestle with what Yi family is wrestling with: the idea of how do we love each other in a difficult situation.”
“Minari” is now looking forward to the Academy Awards, which will be revealed on March 15th. The film will be distributed in local theaters on Wednesday.