Simu Liu & More Stars Slam Golden Globes as American-Set Drama Minari Competes in Foreign Language Category

Minari follows a Korean family that settles in Arkansas and works towards the American dream

Simu Liu, Daniel Dae Kim, Lulu Wang
Simu Liu, Daniel Dae Kim, Lulu Wang. Photo: George Pimentel/Getty; Michael Kovac/Getty; Jeff Spicer/Getty

Simu Liu, Daniel Dae Kim and director Lulu Wang were among some of the Hollywood stars who criticized the Golden Globes for placing the American-set drama Minari in the foreign language category.

On Tuesday, Variety reported that the movie's placement was due to the mostly Korean dialogue as it followed a Korean-American family that moves to Arkansas to build their dreams from the ground up. The award show will air on Feb. 28.

The critically-acclaimed film stars The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Scott Haze, Yuh-Jung Youn and Will Patton. It was executive produced by Yeun, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.

Golden Globe eligibility rules state that any film with at least 50% non-English dialogue goes into the foreign language category, and Minari was entered into that category earlier this year.

Alan S. Kim, Steven Yeun, Noel Cho, Yeri Han Minari
Alan S. Kim, Steven Yeun, Noel Cho, Yeri Han in Minari. David Bornfriend/A24

But many prominent stars objected to the film not being up for best motion picture drama solely due to its dialogue. Liu, who will star in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings next year, tweeted about all the ways the movie was an American film.

"Just for the record, Minari is an American movie written and directed by an American filmmaker set in America with an American lead actor and produced by an American production company," Liu, who was born in China and raised in Canada, wrote in response to a headline from Variety.

"...and without spoiling anything it is a BEAUTIFUL story of an immigrant family trying to build a life from the ground up. What could be more American than that?" he followed it up.

Variety pointed at the precedent set by The Farewell last year, which starred Awkwafina as she traveled to China after her family's elderly matriarch is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The Farewell was placed in the foreign language category at the Golden Globes despite coming from American producing company A24 — the same studio behind Minari.

A24 did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The Farewell director Wang equally criticized Minari's placement after reports surfaced, calling for the rules to be examined and changed.

"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," Wang wrote in a tweet.

Liu and Wang weren't the only prominent celebrities of Asian descent to criticize the report.

"The film equivalent of being told to go back to your country when that country is actually America," tweeted Kim.

"Dear @goldenglobes: Please change your name to 'Golden Only For English Speaking People,' because that would be more accurate. #Minari is an American movie about a Korean American family in Arkansas. Why does a best picture have to be in English? Globe is in your name. Get it?" U.S. Representative Ted Lieu wrote, tagging the official Golden Globe Awards account on Twitter.

Author Min Jin Lee said language shouldn't determine where a movie lands when America is a melting pot of cultures and dialogues.

"#Minari is an American film about new Americans. Everyone in America except for indigenous people came from somewhere else by choice or force. The English language is not an indigenous language. Enough of this nonsense about Asian-Americans being permanently foreign. I’m done," she tweeted.

The controversy is a year after Parasite, a South Korean film, won for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The movie, which was eligible for best motion picture drama, also won the 2020 Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film.

Minari won the Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Minari is in theaters on Feb. 12, 2021.

The 2021 Golden Globe Awards will take place on Feb. 28, 2021.

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