“Minari” star Youn Yuh-jung is still vying for Oscars glory, but she just won the awards season with her blunt-in-the-best way acceptance speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards.
After making history at the SAG Awards for her performance as the lovable, foul-mouthed grandmother in Lee Isaac Chung’s feature film, the veteran Korean actor picked up another major accolade over the weekend.
Cementing her standing as the front-runner for the Academy Awards later this month, Youn was crowned Best Supporting Actress at the BAFTAs, where she accepted the award virtually from presenter David Oyelowo.
The visibly shocked star, whose career spans five decades in her home country, started her speech by sweetly introducing herself to the crowd.
“Hello, Britain! I am Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn,” she said, as her fellow nominees Ashley Madekwe, Dominique Fishback, Maria Bakalova, Kosar Ali and Niamh Algar watched.
“I was very honored to be nominated,” Youn continued, before immediately amending the statement to reflect her victory. “I’m the winner now!”
Youn extended condolences over the Duke of Edinburgh’s death before continuing: “Every award is meaningful, but this one ― especially recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people ― and they approve me as a good actor, so I’m very, very privileged.”
The crowd immediately began laughing at the “snobbish” crack, with Oyelowo seemingly keeling over.
In a news conference later, Youn explained that she was drawing from personal experience.
“I visited Britain a lot of times and I had a fellowship at Cambridge College 10 years ago, as an actor,” she said with a smile, according to Variety. “Somehow it felt very snobbish, but not in a bad way – you [Brits] have a long history.”
She added: “As an Asian woman, I felt these people are very snobbish, that’s my honest feeling.”
Both the SAGs and BAFTAs are key Oscar bellwethers, as the voting bodies for all three awards shows overlap significantly. Youn’s wins position her favorably for victory at the Academy Awards, where voting for this year’s ceremony kicks off on Thursday.
Youn will be facing a different field of rivals at the Oscars, including Amanda Seyfried, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman. Still, bets are now on Youn, who stands as the first South Korean woman ever nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category.
“This has never happened in Korea, and I feel like I’m an Olympian competing for my country,” Youn recently told NPR about the Oscar nod. “It’s very stressful.”