The 93rd Academy Awards continued to make history as South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung took home the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in the Oscar-nominated film Minari.
Although Youn is a veteran of stage and screen in her home country, she has become the first Korean actress to win an Oscar — at the ripe age of 73, no less.
The award was presented to the actress by Brad Pitt, with Youn gushing over how much she loves the Hollywood actor. “Mr Pitt, finally, nice to meet you,” Youn joked. “Where were you while we were filming in Tulsa?”
Yuh-Jung Youn shooting her shot with Brad Pitt. Go for broke.
— Sean Fennessey (@SeanFennessey) April 26, 2021
In her sweet and humourous acceptance speech, Youn told the audience that they were all forgiven for pronouncing her name incorrectly in the past before thanking Minari‘s director. “Lee Isaac Chung, without him I wouldn’t be here tonight. He was my captain and my director,” she said.
Prior to the awards show, Youn had told the press that she had not bothered to prepare a speech as there was no way she believed she was going to win, despite having won the BAFTA for her role. “There’s no way to get a win over Glenn Close,” Youn told ABC.
Minari was nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Musical Score.
The film stars Steven Yeun — who is the first Asian American to be nominated in the lead actor category — as Jacob, a Korean father who moves his family to a rural Arkansas farm during the 1980s.
The family struggle to find roots in their new home, yet are dedicated to pursuing the ever enticing “American Dream” in order to ensure their children have a more promising future.
Minari is a commentary on the experience of immigrants in America and is inspired by filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung’s own childhood memories.
Youn has won widespread acclaim for her portrayal of hilarious grandmother Soon-ja in the film, with critics naming her as Minari‘s standout.