Is this going to be South Korea’s lucky year at the Academy Awards? We certainly hope so, with the Korean Film Council putting its best put forward by selecting A Taxi Driver, the biggest commercial and critical hit of the year for the Best Foreign Language Film race at the 90th Oscar Awards scheduled for March 2018.
The historical drama, set during the Gwangju Uprising of 1980, is still going strong at the box-office with earnings exceeding $ 80 mn since its August 2 release. The film has also won wide acclaim for the performance by the entire ensemble, led by the star Song Kang-ho and the German actor Thomas Kretschmann.
Inspired by real life events, the film features Song as the taxi driver of the film’s title, who finds himself in the middle of an ongoing state-sponsored massacre while ferrying German reporter, played by Kretschmann, in the southwestern Korean city of Gwangju.
The statement released by the Korean Film Council to declare the film’s nomination said, “Based on a true story, A Taxi Driver ably expresses an inherent Koreanness as well as the progress of human rights and democracy in Asia. Moreover, we believed that the film’s messages on universal human values could be easily delivered to international viewers. The film also boasts high cinematic values, and jury members unanimously agreed to choose it.”
Interestingly, this is the third consecutive film featuring Song to be chosen to represent South Korea at the Oscars, with the earlier contenders being The Age of Shadows in 2016 and The Throne in 2015. This is also director Jang Hoon’s second film to be sent to the Oscars after 2011’s war film The Front Line.
Despite the worldwide popularity attained by Korean films in recent times, no film from the country has ever won an entry into the final five nominee list at the Academy Awards. While a great film doesn’t require an Oscar nod to certify its greatness, practical benefits of a win or even a final nomination include wider reach for the country’s cinema and increased box-office receipts. Here’s wishing A Taxi Driver a great show at the Academy Awards!