Foreign Language Films Will Now Be Eligible for Best Picture at the Golden Globes


Well, it’s about time. Following the success of films such as Minari and Parasite at the Oscars in the past two years, it seemed all the more ludicrous that those same films were precluded from competing in the Best Motion Picture category at the Golden Globes.

Happily, that will no longer be the case as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – which has come under fire for its lack of Black representation among its journalists – has announced it is changing the eligibility requirements for Best Motion Picture in both the drama and comedy/musical categories, effective immediately. In addition, animated films will also be eligible in both categories.

All films must still comply with the existing mandate which states they must be released in Los Angeles cinemas during the relevant eligibility period.

The decision comes after the organisation faced widespread controversy after the Oscar-nominated Korean-language American film Minari was deemed illegible for consideration due to its script featuring more than 50 percent of its dialogue in a language other than English.

The fact that the film was only permitted to compete in the foreign-language category was a particularly thorny issue given that it was written and directed by an American filmmaker (Lee Isaac Chung) and set in the United States as it explored the immigrant experience.

Prior to that, 2020’s Best Picture Academy Award winner Parasite was also deemed ineligible in the Globes’ Best Motion Picture categories, along with Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Pedro Almodovar’s Pain & Glory, again, because more than 50 percent of their scripts were in a different language.

“As an organisation 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 the HFPA’s president, Ali Sar.

“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.”

The Golden Globes will not be broadcast in 2022 (although it will go ahead, untelevised), as the HFPA continues to grapple with allegations of discrimination and unethical conduct, but confirmed the new criteria will apply immediately, regardless of when the award show next airs.

Additionally, the organisation also announced that from now on, the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language category will be known as Best Motion Picture — Non-English Language.

Meanwhile, foreign television programs are eligible only if they are a co-production (both financially and creatively) with a United States partner.

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