South Korea’s Youn wins best supporting actress Oscar for ‘Minari’

April 26, 2021 - 11:19 AM
Yuh-Jung Youn, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for "Minari," poses in the press room at the Oscars, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 25, 2021. (Chris Pizzello/Pool via Reuters)

LOS ANGELES — South Korean film icon Youn Yuh-jung won the best supporting actress Oscar on Sunday for her role as a spirited and unconventional grandmother in “Minari.”

Youn, 73, is the first South Korean actor to win an Oscar and the first actor from that country ever to clinch an Academy Award nomination.

Youn’s win was announced onstage by Brad Pitt, last year’s supporting actor winner.

“Mr. Brad Pitt,” Youn said to Pitt as she stepped up to the microphone. “Finally, nice to meet you.”

Youn was the front-runner for an Oscar after picking up dozens of trophies this year for her role in “Minari,” a tender story about a South Korean immigrant family that starts a farm in Arkansas.

In the film, which is based partly on the life story of director Lee Isaac Chung, Youn’s character travels from South Korea to help care for her two grandchildren.

Youn has been a sensation on Korean screens for decades, most often playing witty, thought-provoking characters.

Youn’s fellow supporting actress nominees were Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Glenn Close for “Hillbilly Elegy,” Olivia Colman for “The Father,” and Amanda Seyfried for “Mank.”

“I don’t believe in competition,” Youn said, acknowledging her fellow nominees in the category. “I have just a little bit luck, I think, maybe. I’m luckier than you.” —Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Jonathan Oatis