Youn Yuh-jung Makes History As the First Korean Woman to Win Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars

·2 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

Youn Yuh-jung has made history. The Minari actress picked up the 2021 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first Korean actress in history to do so.

Youn, 73, was nominated for her role as Soon-ja, as strong-willed matriarch who moves to an Arkansas farm to live with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. On the awards show red carpet, Youn told E! she considered the nomination, "a very historic moment for us. It's very exciting and very strange to me, actually."

During her acceptance speech, Youn thanked her director, Lee Isaac Chung, and castmates including Steven Yeun, Han Ye-Ri, Noel Cho, and Alan Kim.

“I don’t believe in competition,” she continued. “How can I win over Glenn Close? I’ve been watching her, so many performances. So this is just, all the nominees, five nominees, we are the winner for the different movie. We play the different role, so we cannot compete with each other. Tonight, I’m here, it’s just, I have a little bit luck, I think, maybe. I’m luckier than you.”

Youn is the second-ever Asian woman to win in the Best Supporting Actress category, following Japanese American actress Miyoshi Umeki’s 1958 win for Sayonara.

Youn was also the first Korean actress to win Best Supporting Actress earlier this awards season at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the British Academy Film Awards. She was also the first Korean actress to be nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for the category.

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