As much as we love Steve Yeun, Youn Yuh-jung’s performance was easily the best in Minari—especially paired with snubbed actor of the year Alan Kim. So it’s not much of a surprise that she took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. And Youn’s Oscars acceptance speech was just as delightful to watch as her in Minari.
She was excited to receive the award from Brad Pitt, saying, “Mr. Pitt, finally...nice to meet you! Where were you while we were filming? It’s a great honor to meet you.” But as flustered as she was getting an award from Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor (who was one of Minari’s executive producers), she didn’t hesitate to let him know that he fucked up his pronunciation of her name by pronouncing it as “Yuh Yun-jung.” “As you know, I’m from Korea, and actually my name is Youn Yuh-jung and in most of Europe, people call me ‘Yoh Yun’ and some of them call me ‘Yuh Yun’ but tonight you are all forgiven.” This is what you can get away with when you’re “Mr. Pitt.”
She mentioned that she would watch the Oscars back home in Korea, and now could finally attend in person. “Me being here by myself, I cannot believe I’m here. Ok, let me pull myself together. Thank you. Tremendous thanks to the Academy members who voted for me and in this speech as they usually say. Thank you to the wonderful Minari family: Steve [Yeun], [Lee] Isaac [Chung], [Han] Ye-ri, and Noel [Kate Cho], Alan [Kim], we became a family. And most of all—above all—Lee Isaac Chung, without him, I wouldn’t be here tonight. He was our captain and my director, so thanks to you. Too many thanks to you,” she said.
But as proud as she is to be honored with the award, Youn also pointed out the Oscars are bullshit. “See, I don’t believe in competition. How can I win over Glenn Close? I’ve been watching her so many performances. All the nominees—five nominees—we are the winners for different movies; we play a different role. So we cannot compete with each other.” To be fair, Close is an incredible actor but it would’ve been very, very questionable for her to win it for Hillbilly Elegy.
Youn’s touching moment also came with a sense of humor, with her noting, “Maybe I’m luckier than you. Also maybe this is American hospitality for a Korean actor.” She also thanked her two sons, noting that they made her “go out and work.” She said, “This is the result, because mommy worked so hard.” Yes, mommy!!!