‘Pachinko’ named best foreign language series at Critics Choice Awards

January 16, 2023

Apple TV+’s Korean language drama ”Pachinko” has won the best foreign language series at this year’s Critics Choice Awards.

At the ceremony held by the Critics Choice Association in Los Angeles on Sunday (U.S. time), “Pachinko” won the trophy in the TV category to beat eight other contestants.

The poster of Apple TV+'s original series "Pachinko" is seen in this photo provided by Apple's streaming platform. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
The poster of Apple TV+’s original series “Pachinko” is seen in this photo provided by Apple’s streaming platform. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A Korean legal drama about an autistic lawyer, “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” aired on Korean cable channel ENA and streamed on Netflix, received a nomination in the same category but failed to win an award.

The seven other contestants were Netflix’s “1899,” “Borgen” and “Kleo”; HBO Max’s “Garcia!”; MUBI’s “The Kingdom Exodus”; HBO’s “My Brilliant Friend”; and Apple TV+’s “Tehran.”

It marks the second consecutive year that a mainly Korean-language series has clinched the trophy for the best foreign language series. Last year, Netflix sensation “Squid Game” became the first Korean show to receive the prize given by a group of about 600 film and TV broadcast critics in North America.

When South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s family satire “Parasite” and Korean American director Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari,” which won best foreign language film in 2020 and 2021, respectively, are included, “Pachinko” is the fourth Korea-related title to claim an award at the annual event. “Minari” is a story of Korean immigrants rarely portrayed in Hollywood.

Based on the 2017 bestselling novel by Korean American author Lee Min-jin, “Pachinko” is a sprawling, multilingual epic that examines four generations of a Korean family during the Japanese occupation of Korea and the subsequent racism that followed.

The eight-episode series revolves around a native Korean girl named Sunja, as well as generations of her family, taking place in multiple locations, including South Korea, Japan and the United States.

The drama has been rated highly due to its persuasive depiction of the pain of countries that have been invaded by other countries and the reality of a community of immigrants beyond the Korean history.

It stars rookie actress Kim Min-ha as young Sunja, Oscar-winning actress Youn Yuh-jung as older Sunja, and Korean heartthrob Lee Min-ho as Sunja’s love interest, Hansu.

Kim attended the awards ceremony in a gold dress, along with Park Eun-bin and Yoo In-sik, the lead actor and director of “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” respectively.

Another South Korean nominee that left the ceremony empty-handed was director Park Chan-wook’s romance thriller “Decision to Leave.” It was nominated for best foreign film, but the honor went to “RRR,” an Indian epic action about two revolutionaries who fight against British rule in India. The film was written and directed by S. S. Rajamouli.