Yuh-Jung Youn Makes History As First Korean Acting Winner For ‘Minari’

Veteran actress Yuh-Jung Youn made history when she became the first South Korean actress ever to receive an Oscar nomination in the supporting actress category, and again made history tonight as the first Korean ever to win an acting Oscar for her portrayal as the feisty grandma in Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari.

A visibly surprised and Yuh-Jung Youn first thanked presenter Brad Pitt, telling him, “I”m so honored to meet you,” then thanked members of the Academy “for voting for me,” and a special shout-out to Chung, “Without him I couldn’t be here tonight, he was our captain and my director.”

She also paid tribute to her fellow nominees, saying “I don’t believe in competition. We are the winners for different movies, we played different roles so we cannot compete with each other. Tonight, I’m here because I had a little bit of luck, I think, I”m luckier than you.”

With the win tonight following both SAG and BAFTA award nods, Yuh-Jung Youn also became only the second Asian to win an acting Oscar since Japan’s Miyoshi Umeki, a winner for Sayonara in the same Supporting Actress category at the 1958 Oscar ceremony.

Minari is nominated for six Oscars tonight, including best picture, director for Chung and lead actor for Steven Yeun.

Yu-Jung Youn beat out fellow nominees Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy, Olivia Colman for The Father and Amanda Seyfried for Mank.

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