HomeKorean AmericanOpEd: Since when are Korean Americans foreign?

OpEd: Since when are Korean Americans foreign?

A24 photo

By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer

Minari by Lee Isaac Chung centers around an American family attempting to get a piece of the American dream. The only difference: this American family happens to be Korean American.

The Golden Globe decision to put this film into the category for Best Picture , Foreign Film is an ultimate slap in the face. That means the film is ineligible for Best Picture. The Globe cites a rule that if 50% of the film’s dialogue is not spoken in English, it cannot be a nominee for Best Picture.

This despite the fact that Minari features mostly American actors in an American story with an American director set in the United States.

Minari is an immigrant story of determination, perseverance and sacrifice. It’s both raw and intergenerational while simultaneously destroying the model minority myth.

While the Golden Globes has essentially snubbed such a meaningful and well put together film, it has been shortlisted for the Oscars in at least 2 categories ( Only 9 of the Oscars nominations have been publicly announced). Minari has been nominated in the categories of “Music (Original Score)” and “Music (Original Song)”. As more nominations are announced over the next few weeks, I am sure we will see Minari mentioned in more categories. It is already a strong contender for the Critics Choice Awards (A24’s entrant), and the actors and the film itself is nominated for a number of other awards and has also won many awards already.

The question which needs to be asked ( and I am sure it already has been asked by many) is why are the Golden Globes following such draconian and “white centrist” rule? I mean if you look at the USA and understand the demographics of the country’s population, you would know that many other languages are readily spoken before English is. It is a country of many cultures, religions, creeds, ethnicities, skin tones etc. To follow a rule which stipulates 50% of the dialogue needs to be spoken in English is extremely outdated and frankly does not reflect the America of today.

I won’t go into why I love Minari and why I am defending it so much because I have previously written about that. I will say that everyone who I have spoken to who has watched it (both Asians and non Asians) has mentioned something different and personal that they took away from it.

For me, it was the resilience of Asian immigrants, and it reminded me of the struggles and challenges my own migrant parents faced when they first moved to Australia and how their only aim was to provide a better life for their future children.

Minari stands on its own whether or not it is successful at the Academy Awards. It’s a well told story which conveys the importance of family and the immigrant experience.

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  1. Yep. What’s néw? It continues. It’s just been 170+ years since my family migrated from China and still I am seen as a foreigner. That’s why I’ve written their story about starting the fishing industry in Monterey Bay Area, CA in 1850 as a performance and has played across the country, and why I am now in the final edit of its book. People need to know our history. People need to know it is American history. People need to know what we have been through with all the racism and yet we persevered and contributed to the economy and culture of this nation.


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