‘Minari’ Nominated for 6 Academy Awards 

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Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

Minari is a story that tells of a South Korean immigrant family chasing after the American dream. The movie has already made headlines for its controversial Golden Globes nomination in the foreign-language film category—it is an American movie about an American family that happens to feature a lot of Korean dialogue and did not meet the 50% English requirement. Many believe that the Golden Globe guidelines for Best Picture should be reviewed, especially those regarding language.

In Minari, actor Steven Yeun plays Jacob Yi, the father of a family who moves to rural America in order to chase the American dream. In Arkansas, Jacob begins a farm, growing Korean produce that he plans to sell to make money to pay back the loans he used to invest in the farm. However, his wife, Monica (played by actress Han Ye-ri) is skeptical of these plans to chase an unstable life. During the course of the movie, the family is forced to make difficult decisions, and Jacob has to choose between his family and his dreams.

For the upcoming 2021 Academy Awards, Yeun has made history for being the first Asian American to be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Few people of Asian descent have been nominated for the Academy Awards.

“Despite Parasite’s historic wins last year, the Oscars, like much of Hollywood, has an abysmal record when it comes to recognizing Asian and Asian American talent,” said Tracy Brown of Los Angeles Times.

Much of Minari’s cast is Asian and Asian American. Yuh-Jung Youn, who plays the grandmother in the movie, has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. She is the first Korean person to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. According to the L.A. Times, it was the authenticity Youn felt in writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s script that persuaded her to join the project. She made her American film debut in Minari.

The film has also been nominated for four other awards: producer Christina Oh for Best Picture, Emile Mosseri for Best Original Score, and Chung for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Chung was inspired to write the film’s script based on his own childhood. Many Asian Americans can also see their own families in the Yi family and their immigration, hardships, family dynamics, and other moments of the film. Minari has given them hope.

“For those of us [Asian Americans] feeling dehumanized, misunderstood and afraid, this win would mean so much, even if it’s not enough to combat the surge in anti-Asian racism… There’s a reason we jump for joy when we see figures like Yeun making it onto the big screen: we feel seen during a time in which we’re fighting for our lives. And we feel represented,” said Jenna Ryu of USA Today.

Leading up to the Oscar nominations, Minari won many other film awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy Awards will air on Sunday, Apr. 25 at 5 p.m., PDT on ABC.

 

Photo courtesy of A24FILMS.COM