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Things look bright for ‘Past Lives’ Oscars prospects

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Dec. 6, 2023 - 15:40

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“Past Lives” (A24) “Past Lives” (A24)

Hopes are growing that Korean Canadian director and playwright Celine Song’s directorial debut “Past Lives” could repeat the success of Lee Isaac Chung's heartwarming family drama “Minari," nominated in six categories at the 2021 Academy Awards.

The 2024 Academy Awards are slated to take place March 10, 2024.

"Past Lives," which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in January, quickly garnered international critical attention. The film opened in the US in June to a favorable reception. Screened during the 28th Busan International Film Festival in October, the official theatrical release in Korea is slated for the first half of next year.

“Past Lives” revolves around Hae-sung (Teo Yoo) and Nora (Greta Lee), deeply connected childhood friends who are pulled apart when Nora's family emigrates to the US. Time passes by and the two are finally reunited after 24 for a fateful week. But what’s in front of them are choices to make, confronting destiny and love.

The film, a self-portrait story of the director, is Korean actor Teo Yoo’s Hollywood debut film.

Considering that the film has been well-received at both small and major global film festivals this year, “Past Lives” is likely to continue the legacy of “Minari," which was nominated in 138 categories at small and major film awards and bagged 54 trophies, including Korean veteran actor Youn Yuh-jung’s best supporting actress award at the Academy Awards that year.

The situation is quite optimistic for “Past Lives.” Just last week, the film won best feature at the Gotham Independent Film Award following nominations in three categories. The movie has also snatched the best first film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the best indie at the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards and best director at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, to name a few.

Media outlets in the US also report that “Past Lives” seems poised to become an Oscar contender. Rolling Stone has listed the film to as its best film of 2023 among a top 20 including blockbusters such as “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie.”