“Minari” star Youn Yuh-jung expressed her gratitude for the British “snobs” who voted for her while accepting the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress on Sunday. All in good fun, of course.
“Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially [to be] recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people, and they approve [of] me as a good actor,” the 73-year-old said, much to the delight of presenter David Oyelowo.
“So I’m very, very privileged and happy.”
During the virtual press conference following her win, Youn told Variety that her take on the Brits “comes from personal experience.”
“I’ve visited Britain a lot of times, and I had a fellowship in a Cambridge college 10 years ago as an actor,” she said. “Somehow, it felt very snobbish, but not in a bad way.
“You have a long history, and then you have your pride. As an Asian woman, I felt these people are very snobbish, that’s my honest feeling.”
Youn’s portrayal of feisty, foul-mouthed Soon-ja in Lee Issac Chung’s Minari” has already scored the veteran actress a historic Screen Actors Guild award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first South Korean woman ever to be nominated for an Oscar in an acting category.
She’s the clear frontrunner going into the April 25 ceremony.Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung reacting to winning the award for Best Supporting Actress at BAFTA.Photo by -/BAFTA/AFP via Getty Images
“Minari” follows a family of South Korean immigrants who move to rural Arkansas during the 1980s. Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Noel Kate Cho, and 8-year-old Alan Kim star alongside Youn in the uniquely American drama.
If Youn wins the Oscar for her scene-stealing performance, she’ll be in good company.
Last year, Bong Joon-ho’s thriller “Parasite” made history as the first non-English language film to take home Best Picture, as the beloved Korean filmmaker collected additional statuettes for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
“If Bong Joon-ho hadn’t won, then Korean people wouldn’t be all that interested,” Youn told Vulture of Korea’s newfound interest in the Academy Awards, an award show deemed by Bong as “very local” in 2019. Now, the whole world is watching.