Entertainment

Minari star Yuh-Jung Youn makes history at the Oscars

She won best supporting actress, adding to her wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Baftas.

Minari star Yuh-Jung Youn made history at the Oscars and delivered another endearing acceptance speech.

The South Korean actress, 73, has long been a superstar in her own country but only recently rose to prominence in the West thanks to her role in Minari.

She played a wily but loving grandmother in the acclaimed family drama.

Youn won best supporting actress at the Oscars, becoming the first Korean to win an acting Academy Award and only the second Asian woman after Miyoshi Umeki in 1958.

It was the latest major award win of a memorable few weeks for Youn.

93rd Academy Awards – Press Room
Yuh-Jung Youn posed with Brad Pitt following her history-making Oscar win (Chris Pizzello/Pool/AP)

She picked up the same prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Baftas.

At the latter she triggered chuckles for calling British people “very snobbish”.

During the Oscars she was presented her award by Brad Pitt before delivering a heart-warming acceptance speech.

She said: “Mr Brad Pitt, finally. Nice to meet you.”

Youn also paid tribute to the other nominees in the category saying she “doesn’t believe in competition”, while questioning how she could win over fellow nominee Glenn Close.

93rd Academy Awards – Press Room
Yuh-Jung Youn won best supporting actress for her role in Minari (Chris Pizzello/Pool/AP)

Referring to the other nominees, she added that she had perhaps won because “I’m luckier than you… also maybe American hospitality for Korean actor, I’m not sure but thank you so much”.

Mentioning her children she said: “My two boys who made me go out and work… this is the result because mummy worked so hard…”.

Speaking to reporters following her win, Youn reflected on a long career and stressed success does not come easy.

“There’s nothing that happened ‘bang’, like this,” she said. “I don’t believe that kind of thing.

93rd Academy Awards – Press Room
Yuh-Jung Youn embraced British star Daniel Kaluuya after the pair became Oscar winners (Chris Pizzello/Pool/AP)

“It’s happy, very happy when you get it.

“But me myself, I don’t believe in competition, especially in our field because we are comparing different movie, different roles.

“I am just lucky tonight, just luckier than the other nominees.”

Youn also shared her support for greater diversity in the film industry.

She said: “We are equal human beings, we have the same warm hearts.

“It’s an opportunity for us to share in the story together.”

And on meeting Hollywood superstar Pitt, Youn said: “I saw him on the stage and then he called my name, I can tell he practised a lot, he didn’t mispronounce my name.

“Then that moment when I got there I lost what I was supposed to say.”

Youn was asked what Pitt smelled like and caused laughter in the press room by replying: “I didn’t smell him, I’m not a dog. No.”

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