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Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives’ named Best Picture by National Society of Film Critics

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 7, 2024 - 13:24

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“Past Lives” (CJENM) “Past Lives” (CJENM)

Korean Canadian filmmaker and playwright Celine Song’s directorial debut, “Past Lives,” was named Best Picture of 2023 at the National Society of Film Critics Awards.

“Past Lives,” a semi-autobiographical romantic drama film about Korean writer Nora (Greta Lee) living in New York who reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Hae-sung (Teo Yoo), after 20 years, won the top prize at the 58th annual awards. Other contenders were “Oppenheimer” and “The Zone of Interest.”

Director Song was also nominated in the category for Best Screenplay.

The society, comprised of more than 60 prominent film critics across the US, was founded in 1966. It annually votes on its selections for best picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and actress, screenplay and cinematography.

Director Celine Song attends the New York Film Critics Circle Awards at Tao Downtown in New York on Jan. 3. (AP-Yonhap) Director Celine Song attends the New York Film Critics Circle Awards at Tao Downtown in New York on Jan. 3. (AP-Yonhap)

At the 2024 Golden Globes Awards, which is taking place Monday in California, the film has been nominated in five categories: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Drama Motion Picture and Best Actress.

The film has been also longlisted in six categories at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, slated for Feb. 18.

Korean Actor Teo Yoo, who made his Hollywood debut through “Past Lives,” has been longlisted in the category of Leading Actor, along with nine other actors. The final six nominees will be determined on Jan. 18.

Previous BAFTA Korean awardees include director Park Chan-wook of “The Handmaiden” (2018) and director Bong Joon-ho of “Parasite” (2020). Actor Youn Yuh-jung of “Minari” (2021) won Best Supporting Actress there.

“Past Lives” quickly gained international critical attention following its premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in January. The film opened in the US in June to a favorable reception. The official theatrical release in Korea is slated for the first half of this year.

Last year, “Past Lives” won Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Award following nominations in three categories. The movie also snatched Best First Film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Best Indie at the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards and Best Director at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.