Film & Theatre

Yuh-Jung Youn’s speech won the Οscars

On Sunday night on 25th April at the 93rd Academy Awards, history was made. The actress Yuh-Jung Youn, who has been working in the industry for decades, has won Best Supporting Actress.

She is the first Korean woman to win this prize and she is the second Asian woman to win the award after Miyoshi Umeki won for Sayonara in 1957. Even though she is active and working for many years American audiences have come to know and love her based on her role as grandmother, Soonja, in Minari.

Minari, which translates to “water celery”, is a 2020 American drama film and it is a semi-autobiographical take on Lee Issac Chung’s, the director’s, upbringing. The plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in Arkansas, United States, during the 1980s.

It is not the first time this year that she wins an award since she also won at the BAFTAs the award for Best Supporting Actress. However, this is not the only reason she has caught our attention. Her acceptance speeches are going viral over the internet, starting when she jokingly said that English is “very snobbish, but not in a bad way”. It should be pointed out that she doesn’t plan her speeches ahead of time.

On Sunday she began by freaking out over Brad Pitt who announced her win. She told him on the stage “Mr. Brad Pitt, finally, nice to meet you. Where were you when we were filming? I’m very honored to meet you.”

She continued commenting on her name “As you know, I’m from Korea and my name is Yuh-Jung Youn. Most European people call me Yuh-youn, and some of them call me Yuh-Jung. But tonight, you are all forgiven.” Then she went on and thanked her co-stars on Minari Steven Yeun and Alan Kim and the director Lee Isaac Chung.

She went on with a powerful message saying that she doesn’t believe in competition mentioning Glenn Close who is the most award-nominated actress. She said that all her fellow five nominees are winners because they all had different roles in different movies. Youn also added to her message that this night she was just lucky or her winning is just the outcome of the American hospitality for a Korean actor.

The crowd loved her and her whole-hearted, not planned speech. She finished with a sweet note to her children “I’d like to thank my two boys, who make me go out and work,” she said. “This is the result because mommy works so hard.”

Watch her speech: