Youn Yuh-jung presents Oscar for deaf actor Troy Kotsur’s historic win in sign language

Youn Yuh-jung Oscar
Image: ABC
  • Actress Youn Yuh-jung is being praised for presenting the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to deaf “CODA” actor Troy Kotsur in American Sign Language at Monday's 94th Academy Awards ceremony.
  • While presenting the award, Youn first signed “congratulations” before announcing Kotsur’s name out loud.
  • Youn was also seen donning a blue ribbon pin on her dress that said “#WithRefugees” in support of Ukrainian refugees.
  • Youn became the first Korean actor to win an award at the Oscars last year for her performance in the film “Minari.”

South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung is being praised for presenting an Oscar in American Sign Language to Troy Kotsur, the first deaf male actor to win an Academy Award.

Following the phrase “And the Oscar goes to,” Youn paused to sign “congratulations.” She then said his name out loud, announcing Kotsur as the winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. 

As Kotsur took the stage, Youn held onto his statuette to allow him to use his hands to deliver his acceptance speech in American Sign Language.

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Kotsur, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “CODA,” became the first deaf male actor to be nominated for and win an Academy Award. He is the second deaf performer overall to win an Oscar, following his “CODA” costar Marlee Matlin, who won the Best Actress award for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.

Youn was also seen wearing a blue ribbon pin that read “#WithRefugees” on her dress, in support of the Ukrainian refugees campaign.

Prior to the presentation of the award, the 74-year-old actress asked the audience for forgiveness in complaining about the mispronunciation of her name at last year’s Oscars. As a presenter herself at this year’s Oscars, Youn explained that she now understands that pronouncing candidates’ names is not an easy task and apologized in advance for making potential pronunciation mistakes.

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“I was complaining about mispronouncing my name, and I’m so sorry because I’ve looked at the nominees of this incredible category and now I have to pronounce them,” Youn said. “Please forgive me in advance.” 

Korean internet users and media outlets have applauded Youn for her consideration towards Kotsur during the presentation. 

Youn made history at last year’s Academy Awards by becoming the first Korean actor to win in the Best Supporting Actress category, for her role in the U.S. film “Minari.”

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