Minari actress and my personal idol Youn Yuh-Jung just won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and essentially, she now deserves another one for her groundbreaking speech.
I’m going to admit that I never completely recovered from Anne Hathaway kicking off her 2013 Best Supporting Actress speech with the cringeworthy (and clearly rehearsed): “it came true”. But eight years later, I’m pretty sure that Youn Yuh-Jung finally presented us with the antidote.
The long-time Korean actress opened her speech by accosting the presenter of the Best Supporting Actress award, Brad Pitt. “Mr Brad Pitt. Finally, it’s nice to meet you. Where were you when we were filming?” she asked presenter Brad Pitt who awkwardly stood several metres to her right on stage, either due to social distancing requirements or a genuine fear. Yes, apparently Brad Pitt was executive producer of Minari, and Youn’s words weren’t her in fact being starstruck, but a good-natured admonishment, perhaps showing up the meaninglessness of the ‘executive producer’ credit in the first place.
The 73-year-old actress then goes on to flag the fact her name has been mispronounced by folks all over the world (“but tonight you are all forgiven”). She also acknowledged the obvious: that it makes no sense to compare a bunch of actresses to one another (“how can I win over Glenn Close? Glenn Close!”) adding: “I have a little bit of luck, I think. I’m luckier than you”.
She also gave us a bit of food for thought. “Maybe it’s the American hospitality for the Korean actor. I’m not sure.” Interesting. We’ll marinate on that one.
And finally, Yuh-Jung, like most winners, took a moment to offer profuse thanks to her nearest and dearest. “I'd like to thank my two boys, who make me go out and work. This is the result, because mommy worked so hard.” Yes, she did.
In any case, I’m very much into the whole ‘Unfussed South Korean person winning an Oscar each year’ thing. Let’s keep this energy going.
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer for MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @purpletank.