During the 2021 Academy Awards on Sunday, Yuh-Jung Youn won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Soon-ja in the film Minari directed by Lee Isaac Chun. Youn is the first Asian woman in history to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy Awards has recently been good to people with a Korean background in recent years, as Steven Yeun became the first Korean actor to be nominated for Best Actor while the film Parasite became the first non-English film to receive the award for Best Picture.

Youn began her speech by thanking the actor Brad Pitt, who served as an executive producer for the film. Youn had not actually come into contact with Pitt before the award ceremony itself and expressed her excitement at finally being able to see him face to face, saying during the speech that it was so nice to finally meet him. Youn also jokingly forgave the Academy for constantly mispronouncing her name throughout the entire season. She then poked fun at her “tough” battle with the other nominees, joking that she was luckier than them because of “the American hospitality for a Korean actor.”

Youn also joked that she was shocked that she won over an actress like Glenn Close, who was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the film Hillbilly Elegy directed by Ron Howard, which received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics but still earned Close a nomination. “I don’t believe in competition, but how can I win over Glenn Close? All the nominees, five nominees, we are the winners for different movies…. we can’t compete with each other. I had a little bit of luck. I’m luckier than you! Also, maybe [it’s because of] American hospitality for a Korean actor. I’m not sure!”


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