South Korea’s ‘The Man Standing Next’ up for 2021 Oscars


South Korea has selected The Man Standing Next for the 2021 Oscars. The movie will compete in the International Feature category.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee Byung-hun starring The Man Standing Next is an official entry from South Korea. Announcing the news on Thursday, the Korean Film Council said the following in its statement:

“The Man Standing Next is an attractive film featuring a rather dark side of the history of South Korea renowned for its phenomenal economic growth. Actor Lee Byung-hun, who has name recognition in the U.S., gives a great performance in the movie.”

The film shows a mysterious story of former President Park Chun-hee’s assassination in 1979. Woo Min-ho is the director of this political thriller drama. Released in late January, it turned out a blockbuster, earning around $34.5 million. Hive Media and Showbox are the producers. Due to the pandemic, theaters were closed early this year, and since then, no other film has been released in South Korea. And thus, it’s also the highest-grossing film in the country so far in 2020, which is obvious.

“The Man Standing Next” details and cast

It is set during South Korea’s military dictatorship period and 40 days before Park Chun-hee’s assassination. The story shows how he was with the people that he knew and what went internally. Lee Byung-hun plays the role of a spy from the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. His character plays a crucial part in what transpires in the movie.

Actor Byung-hun has become quite a known face now. He’s also appeared in Hollywood flicks like the G.I. Joe series and in Storm Shadow. He was also in Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven remake.

Early contenders for 2021 Oscars

Although the official nominations are months away, there are a few titles looking already strong. Nomadland from Searchlight Pictures, The Trial of Chicago 7, and Mank from Netflix are rumored for the race. Early predictions also include One Night in Miami from Amazon Studios and The Father from Sony Pictures Classic.

Coming back to South Korea, then so far, it is merely noticed at the Academy Awards, historically. However, everything changed last year when Parasite came and conquered everyone. It also landed Bong Joon-ho his first Oscar award as Best Director.

The Man Standing Next is only the second-ever entry from South Korea so far, after Parasite in 2019. The latter also secured a historic win in the Best Picture category as well, apart from the Best International Feature award. Next year will be exciting to watch out for since most of the big releases this year are facing delays amid pandemic.

Image courtesy of LanKS/Shutterstock

MK Tomar

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MK Tomar

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