It’s probably no surprise to hear that Minari is generating serious Oscar buzz. The drama directed by Lee Isaac Chung and starring The Walking Dead veteran Steven Yeun is one of the best-reviewed films of the year (it’s currently sitting at 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and holding since its debut at Sundance this past January). As reported by Variety, the film is finally getting a theatrical release, with a limited Oscar-qualifying run beginning December 11 in New York and Los Angeles. A wider rollout is set to begin February 12, with a plan to continue expanding until the Oscar nominations are announced in March.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking – why the hell is the Academy still bothering with qualifying theatrical releases in a year when pretty much every movie theater has been shut down due to the worst pandemic in a century? Well, the rules were altered back in April to extend Oscar eligibility to “films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service,” with an addendum in October that also allowed for films with brief theatrical runs in qualifying U.S. cities (a brief run being at least 6 consecutive days with at least three daily screenings). It’s… confusing, but everything this year has been, so why stop now?
Minari follows a Korean-American family in the 1980s who move to a farm in Arkansas to try and build a life for themselves. It has received near-universal praise, with particular attention being paid to the direction and Yeun’s performance. Click here to read Collider’s review by Senior Film Editor Matt Goldberg.