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Korean Actress Youn Yuh-jung Makes Film Industry History
  • By Park Yu-jeong, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2021.05.10 12:32
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▲ Youn Yuh-jung, winner of the best supporting actress award at the 93th Academy Awards (source : Yonhap-Reuters)

On April 25 (US time), actor Youn Yuh-jung won the best supporting actress award at the 93rd Academy Awards for her performance in “Minari”. This is the first Korean and the second Asian actress to win an Academy Award after actor Miyoshi Umeki in the film “Sayonara”. “Minari'' is a semi-autobiographical film directed by Korean American Lee Isaac Chung and it is about first-generation immigrants from Korea settling in America. Youn played the role of Soonja. “Minari” was also nominated for six Academy Awards including best supporting actress, best picture, and best original song. This award and these nominations are significant as independent films pave the way for further development within the genre. So what is the significance of an Academy Award?

The Academy Awards are the largest film awards in the U.S. presented by American filmmakers and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It is also called Oscar, but Oscar is the name of the statuette and Academy Award is the name of the award. The Academy Award for best supporting actress goes to the best supporting actress in a film released that year in the United States. The winners of the Academy Awards are decided by the votes of Academy members, consisting of actors and directors from all over the world, excluding journalists and critics. To be Academy members, they have to be sponsored by two academy members, and only those who have recent successful activity within the film industry. Korean Academy members include director Bong Joon-ho, actors Choi Min-sik, and Song Kang-ho.

Youn Yuh-jung was expected to win the award. “Minari” has won more than 100 awards since making a successful debut at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26 last year. Among them, Youn won more than 30 awards including best actress at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and best supporting actress at the 74th British Academy Film Awards. In particular, she won the best supporting actress award at the US Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) on April 4 this year. It is clear that Youn has become a favorite. SAG Award winners are chosen by a vote of the members of SAG-AFTRA, but most of the actors who belong to the SAG-AFTRA are members of the Academy.

Youn Yuh-jung charmed the world with her witty acceptance speech at the 93rd Academy Awards. Yoon made the audience smile by saying to Brad Pitt, who had announced her as the winner and was the producer of Minari, “Mr. Brad Pitt, finally nice to meet you. Where were you while we were filming in Tulsa?” Along with her humor, she also took a humble attitude toward her rival candidates. She said, “All the nominees, five nominees, we are the winner for the different movies. We played different roles, so we cannot compete with each other. Tonight, I’m here just because of a little bit of luck, I think.” The local media reacted enthusiastically to her confident and witty acceptance speech. On the 26th, the New York Times expressed admiration and selected Youn’s speech as one of the best speeches in an article titled “The Best and Worst Moments of the 2021 Oscars.”

The Korean film industry is having good times as “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon-ho won four awards, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards last year, and actor Youn Yuh-jung won the best supporting actress in an independent film this year. In particular, Youn broke the invisible racial barrier when she won the Oscar for best supporting actress. Actors of color have rarely been nominated for acting awards at the Academy Awards. However, this year, the elderly Asian actress who won the award has become a role model for many people. In addition, her confident and humble attitude made the Korean movie industry shine through her. The future of actor Youn Yuh-jung and independent Korean films are expected to be bright with this award.

By Park Yu-jeong, cub-reporter  parkyujeong01@naver.com

<저작권자 © The Campus Journal, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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