By Deepa Lakshmin
Yuh-Jung Youn, who plays the incomparably comical grandmother Soon-ja in Minari, started her Oscars winning speech by calling out presenter Brad Pitt (“Where were you when we were filming?!”) and ended it with a tribute to her kids deserving of its own standing ovation: “This is the result, because mommy works so hard.”
It was a cheeky and charming way to wrap her off-the-cuff speech accepting the Academy Award for Actress in a Supporting Role, one of several historic wins that went down Sunday night (April 25) at Union Station in Los Angeles. Youn is the first Korean actress to take home an Oscar in an acting category, and though the Academy clearly sees her talent, she credits her win to a splash of good luck.
“I don’t believe in competition,” she said, addressing fellow nominees Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s Maria Bakalova, Hillbilly Elegy’s Glenn Close, The Father’s Olivia Colman, and Mank’s Amanda Seyfried. “How can I win over Glenn Close? I’ve been watching her for so many performances... We cannot compete [with] each other. Tonight I’m here, I had just a little bit of luck, I think. I’m luckier than you.”
Youn also shared how she’s watched the Oscars on TV in South Korea, never expecting that one day she’d be standing on stage holding her very own award. “I cannot believe I’m here,” she said. “Let me pull myself together.” She went on to thank Minari director Lee Isaac Chung and the rest of the cast who played a family on screen and “became a family” in real life — how fitting.
Find all the 2021 Oscar winners right here.