An HFPA rule prevented Lee Isaac Chung's Steven Yeun-starring critical darling from a Golden Globe nomination.

By Joey Nolfi
February 03, 2021 at 09:08 AM EST
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Lee Isaac Chung's critically lauded drama Minari has joined a lineage of excellence when it comes to great movies that were ineligible for inclusion in a prominent category at the Golden Globes.

Though it has earned several standout notices on the precursor circuit atop the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decorating the film with a Foreign-Language Film nod on Wednesday morning, A24's Minari — about a Korean family (led by Steven Yeun) chasing the American Dream in 1980s Arkansas — did not qualify for a nomination in the Best Picture category due to a long-standing, controversial HFPA rule.

According to official Golden Globe guidelines, "motion pictures that qualify for the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language award also qualify for awards in all other motion picture categories except Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, which are exclusively for English-language motion pictures, and Best Motion Picture – Animated."

In other words: If more than 50 percent of your film's spoken dialogue is not in English, it can't be nominated for Best Picture in either of the Globes' categories. Since Minari mostly unfolds in Korean, it doesn't meet the English-language threshold, despite being an American production directed by Chung, a Denver-born filmmaker.

Similar HFPA standards barred recent, eventual Best Picture Oscar nominees and/or winners like Roma and Parasite from competing in the Golden Globes' top competitive brackets as well, though it didn't stop them from reaping major success at the Academy Awards. Parasite made history one year ago as the first foreign-language film to take Best Picture at the Academy's ceremony.

An even bigger surprise, however, came in the Globes' Supporting Actress category, where presumed frontrunner Youn Yuh-Jung sat nominations morning out in favor of surprise nominee Jodie Foster in The Mauritanian.

In December, Lulu Wang, director of Awkwafina's The Farewell — which was also ineligible for Best Picture consideration at last year's Golden Globes — joined a chorus of critics slamming the HFPA's eligibility requirements preventing movies like Minari from competing for Best Picture.

"I have not seen a more American film than #Minari this year," Wang tweeted. "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."

See the full list of 2021 Golden Globe nominations here. The Tina Fey- and Amy Poehler-hosted ceremony airs Sunday, Feb. 28 on NBC.

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