At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, Minari won the award for the Best Foreign Language Film. Upon the report of its receiving of the award, the foreign press criticized the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for categorizing it as a foreign-language film, appraising Minari as the Best Picture material, which has the highest reputation among all the awards.
Minari is a story of an immigrant family from Korea moving to the countryside of Arkansas in pursuit of the great American dream in the 1980s. It is an American-produced movie, written and directed by an American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung. Even though Minari is an American film, it was not nominated for the Best Picture award because of a certain rule of the Golden Globes. According to the HFPA, in order for a film to be nominated for the Best Picture, more than 50 percent of the film’s spoken dialogue has to be in English.
Upon hearing this news, various media outlets criticized the Golden Globes and praised Minari as the movie that should have competed as an American film in the Best Picture category. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur commented that Minari is essentially an American movie centering around a Korean-American family. They also pointed out that it was the only American film that was nominated for the foreign-language award. CNN also reported that this incident in the Golden Globes raises a serious problem of racism in Hollywood, emphasizing the fact that more than 20 percent of Americans use languages other than English in their homes.
Many people argue that Minari is an American film made by an American director and production company. Director Wang of The Farewell, upon hearing the news, commented, “We need to change the old rules that define ‘what is American’ with only ‘the use of English.’” Director Isaac Chung revealed in his interview that Minari is a movie about a family and their effort as a family to speak in their own language of heart, which is more sincere than English or any other language. These two directors, despite the race controversy surrounding the Golden Globes, raise a question on what meanings language have.