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In the aftermath of widespread controversy over the best picture ineligibility of the Korean-language American film Minari at the most recent Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Wednesday said it will allow foreign-language films to compete for its best picture prizes going forward.
“Recognizing the diversity of excellence in the world by elevating foreign-language films as candidates for its top award,” the HFPA said it will allow non-English-language films to compete for best motion picture, drama, and best motion picture, musical or comedy. In addition, animated films will now be eligible for both categories.
All films must meet the eligibility requirements (i.e., release in the Los Angeles area during the relevant eligibility period).
“As an organization composed of journalists from all backgrounds, the HFPA created the best foreign-language category to ensure films with subtitles were getting just as much recognition as English-speaking films in the U.S. market,” said Ali Sar, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “As we reexamined our guidelines this year and listened to the industry, we decided to adopt new approaches for future shows ensuring these films receive the attention they deserve. Language will no longer be a barrier to recognition as the best.”
In the past, critically acclaimed films like Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite — which went on to win the best picture Oscar — Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Pedro Almodovar’s Pain & Glory all earned Golden Globe noms but were deemed ineligible for the top categories since they each featured more than 50 percent of their dialogue in a language other than English.
Last year, the fact that Minari was ineligible for the top prize — but would instead compete in the foreign-language category — became a source of tension. Wang and other prominent figures took issue with the implication that Minari was “foreign,” given that it was financed and distributed by American companies (Plan B and A24, respectively); written and directed by an American filmmaker (Lee Isaac Chung, the Denver-born son of Korean immigrants); and chronicled the experience of Koreans who immigrate to America, where it also was shot and is set (and where nearly 20 percent of households speak a language other than English).
The HFPA said the changes will take effect immediately, “regardless of the next airdate of the Golden Globes.”
In May, NBC announced it would not be airing the Golden Globes in 2022, following a scathing exposé about in the Los Angeles Times about the HFPA’s lack of Black representation and alleged unethical conduct.
Additional changes announced Wednesday include:
— The best motion picture – foreign language category has been renamed as best motion picture — non-English language.
— Productions of stage plays, operas concerts, and other live events recorded on a theatrical stage or other similar venue (in other words, not adapted for production as a motion picture or television program) are now considered documentaries and are not eligible.
— Foreign television programs (programs produced principally outside the United States) are eligible only if they are a co-production (both financially and creatively) with a United States partner.
— All eligible episodes of television series must be at least 20 minutes long.
— The Golden Globe ballot certifications each member makes to comply with HFPA’s current conflicts disclosure requirements has been updated.
Scott Feinberg contributed to this report.
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